Two Pune Policemen Suspended For Extorting Rs 2.5 Lakh From Oil Tanker Owner Through Fake Journalist

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Hadapsar, 7th July 2024: A fake journalist posing as a law enforcement officer was apprehended while accepting extortion money of 2.5 lakh rupees after intercepting an oil tanker under false pretences in Hadapsar. The incident has led to the suspension of two crime branch policemen who were found in contact with the perpetrator.


The accused, identified as Rahul Machhindra Harpale (35) from Fursungi, allegedly intercepted the oil tanker and falsely claimed it was illegally transporting furnace oil. He demanded Rs 10 lakhs from Balu Anna Chowgule, the owner of the tanker. When Chowgule expressed his inability to pay the full amount immediately, Harpale accepted 2.5 lakh rupees as a compromise.


According to reports, the fake journalist was aided by Police Constable Gyandev Gorakh Giramkar and Police Naik Shirish Srihari Gosavi, both of whom have been suspended pending further investigation. Senior officials from the Crime Branch, including Deputy Commissioner Amol Zende, are overseeing the inquiry into their involvement in the extortion case.


The incident unfolded when Abdul Shaikh, the tanker’s driver, was intercepted by Harpale and two accomplices masquerading as police officers near the Kavadipat toll booth on Pune-Solapur highway. They falsely accused Shaikh of illegal transportation and threatened legal action unless Chowgule paid a hefty sum.


Balu Chowgule, alarmed by the threats, arranged for 2.5 lakh rupees and contacted Harpale, who was subsequently identified through his mobile number and his association with a dubious YouTube channel named News Prahar.


Upon receiving the complaint, Senior Police Inspector Santosh Pande of Hadapsar Police Station initiated legal action against Harpale, charging him with extortion and other related offences. The involvement of Giramkar and Gosavi came to light after an internal investigation revealed their unauthorized role in the incident, including the unlawful seizure of the tanker and failure to report the incident to their superiors.


The actions of Giramkar and Gosavi have been criticized for tarnishing the reputation of the police force. Further scrutiny of their conduct is underway, with emphasis on ensuring accountability and upholding the integrity of law enforcement practices.