Lucknow, May 13 (IANS) Nine Uttar Pradesh policemen were suspended and 21 others sent to police lines, officials said Monday, as Lucknow district’s crime branch was disbanded for involvement in extortion and robbery.
Three sub-inspectors and six constables were suspended Sunday; two inspectors, four sub-inspectors and 15 constables were divested of their assignments after Lucknow’s Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) J. Ravinder Gaur received a complaint from gutka (chewing tobacco) factory owner Om Narain.
An angry district police chief disbanded the crime branch — comprising a team of 30 policemen — after the culpability of the men was established prima facie.
The industrialist told police officials that the crime branch officials came to him and sought Rs.20 lakh to allow him to manufacture gutka, which was banned in the state from April 1, following the Supreme Court (SC) orders.
When the businessman refused to pay the money, a team of crime branch policemen barged into his house late Sunday, broke open an almairah, and robbed him of Rs.10 lakh.
A shocked Om Narain petitioned senior police officials, including Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) Arun Kumar, who asked the SSP to probe the matter on a priority basis.
When the district police chief summoned Additional Superintendent of Police (Crime) Ravindra Kumar Singh, and the businessman was asked to identify the errant policemen, nine men were identified from those paraded.
These included H.L. Mishra, K.K. Mishra, S.K. Mishra, Atul Singh, Tauqeer Ahmad, Pradeep Singh, Rajeev Singh, Lav Kush Mishra and Chedi Lal.
A probe has been ordered into the matter.
The incident comes as a huge embarrassment to the Akhilesh Yadav government, as the state already faces spiralling crime rates. With its own men involved in loot and extortion, the state police force will take a drubbing.