SAMBALPUR: At least five members of a gang were arrested by Sambalpur police for indulging in extortion by posing as Maoists on Wednesday. Another member is still at large.
Police seized two country-made pistols, as many mausers, a single bore gun, masks, besides five mobile phones, a hard disc and two motorcycles from their possession. They were arrested while attempting to extort Rs 10 lakh from a stone crusher unit owner at Ghusuraguda under Jamankira police limits after committing dacoity in the unit.
Those arrested have been identified as Sambhu Narayan Deo alias Lulu (29) of Babusahi; Tikeswar Sethy alias Kalia (30) of Asurkhol, both in Deogarh; Oman Baba alias Nanu (35) of Panposh in Rourkela; Sameer Kerketa (28) of Taperbasa under Birmitrapur police limits and Ashok Lugun (24) of Tendra Bargaon under Bonai police limits, both in Sundargarh district.
Though the dacoity had taken place in April, complaint was lodged on May 4. Another accused Bhima alias Baya Nahak (26) of Asurkhol in Deogarh district is absconding and efforts are on to arrest him.
Addressing mediapersons, Sambalpur SP Akhilesvar Singh said, a group of masked men laced with firearms reached the stone crusher unit of Rajesh Nayak of Ghusuraguda on April 16 midnight. Since Nayak was not present, they locked all the staff in a room at gun-point and left with seven mobile phones and hard disc of CCTV. They asked the staff to tell Nayak not to operate the crusher until he spoke to them. They also took the mobile number of Nayak before fleeing from the spot.
Later, they called up Nayak identifying themselves as Maoists and demanded Rs 10 lakh. They also threatened him with death if he refuses to cough up the amount.
Although Nayak was initially reluctant to inform police, the latter took him into confidence after which he lodged complaint on May 4 which helped the police nab the accused. All the accused have criminal antecedents and are wanted in different cases, Singh revealed.