Two soldiers among 4 held for South Kashmir extortion spree
Ahmed Ali Fayyaz
JAMMU, Jan 1: Police in Kulgam district of southern Kashmir have arrested all the four persons, including two locsl soldiers of Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry (JAKLI) working with a camp of Rashtriya Rifles, and seized from their possession one fake AK-47 rifle purportedly used in an extortion spree by the organised gang.
As reported in Friday's edition of STATE TIMES, a gang of four unidentified persons, who were later identified, had extorted an amount of Rs 32,500 from the house of dental surgeon Dr Bilal Beg at Khriwan, Qazigund, on December 27 evening while masquerading as militants.
SHO Qazigund, Inspector Pervez Ahmad, said that Police registered case FIR No: 303 of 2015 under sections 452, 34 and 386 RPC on the complaint of Dr Bilal's sister Yasmeena and brother-in-law Dr Rizwan who had been robbed off by the gang on last Sunday. He said that during the investigation Police picked up one suspect and three more on his disclosures. He identified the civilians detainees as Muzaffar Ahmad Bhat and Nisar Ahmad of Nusu and said that two JAKLI general soldiers, Mohammad Yousuf Teeli of Khriwan and Mohammad Rafeeq Khandey of Sangran, were also arrested.
SHO Qazigund told STATE TIMES the local Army camp officers handed over the two local soldiers with "total cooperation" for questioning, detention and prosecution. "If soldiers commit a crime in company of civilian, prosecution and trial has to run in a civil court", Inspector Pervez said. He revealed that on Khandey’s disclosure, Police recovered a fake AK-47 rifle, claimed to have been used in commission of the crime, from his cowshed. Munsiff Court Kulgam yesterday remanded all the four detainees to Police custody for a week.
"The detainees disclosed during sustained questioning that after committing extortion at Dr Bilal's home, the extortionists had also raided another house in Khriwan and looted Rs 2,000. Thereafter they had intruded into the house of a physician Dr Mir Ishaque at Monghal in Anantnag district and extorted cash worth Rs 37,500 from his family. He said that Police Station Anantnag was registering a separate FIR ovet the extortion done at Monghal.
"We have recovered one fake gun which is strikingly identical to a real AK-47 rifle. They claim that they had destroyed another fake rifle used in the crime", Inspector Pervez said and asserted that all the four accused would be subjected to further investigation and prosecution to ascertain if they were involved in any other crime, particularly extortion.
Even as the Police officers insisted that one or two fake rifles had been used in the extortion spree and subsequently seized by Police, they maintained that Army extended full support to the Police team and handed over the accused without any resistance. "We are investigating if this gang of four men has looted cash at any other house in South Kashmir", SHO said. He said that the money looted from the houses of two doctors in Khriwan and Monghal would be recovered on Friday night.