KOCHI: Now, even goons in the city have started using digital payment channels for hafta (protection money paid to gangsters) collection from people after threatening and intimidating them.
Police have launched a detailed probe into a recent incident where a gang threatened to kill a person if he didn’t transfer Rs 30,000 to their account via Google Pay. Police said background details of the gang, suspected to be involved in quotation activities and fleecing money after threatening people, are being collected.
The incident occurred in January when four persons trespassed into a business firm at Vytilla and threatened to kill its owner if he didn’t pay up. Based on the complaint lodged by the victim, a case was registered at Maradu police station against the four suspects.
“We are probing why the gang targeted the particular person. It seems that they had taken a quotation from someone. We have identified the gang members,” said a police officer.
Though one of the accused, identified as Najeebudeen M A, 35, of Aluva, moved an anticipatory bail plea in connection with the case, the sessions court on March 10 dismissed it. It observed that the accused does not have the right to pre-arrest bail, considering the heinous nature of the crime.
“The accused allegedly introduced themselves as goons of Ernakulam while they committed the crime. The accused and his associates subjected the complainant to criminal intimidation, demanding a sum of Rs 30,000 from him via Google Pay,” submitted the police at the court, strongly opposing the pre-arrest bail.
The court said that there is absolutely no reason to think that the complainant might have come forward with false accusations against the accused.
“The exceptional provisions contained under CrPC Section 438 (pre-arrest bail) cannot be extended to those who indulge in heinous crimes like in this case. It is of no doubt that any protection granted to the petitioner by way of pre-arrest bail would adversely affect the investigation,” the court said.