Sunday, 18 March 2018

Two held for extorting money from prominent builder

18/3/2018

PUNE: A member of Pune Zilla Parishad and his associate were arrested from suburban Mulund here while accepting Rs one crore "extortion" amount from a prominent Powai-based builder, police said.

The accused, Gulab Parkhe, who earlier worked in the builder's construction company, was caught red-handed yesterday along with his associate Vithal Falke, a police official said. "Parkhe had worked in the construction company for about six years, but quit the job last year. He then went to his village in Junnar tehsil in Pune district. There he got associated with a political party and was elected as a Pune ZP member," the official said.

Soon, Parkhe raised objections over his former employer's "illegal" construction activities in Powai and filed a complaint against them with the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC). A construction company official contacted the accused in November last year to know the reason behind his complaint.

"Parkhe then demanded Rs 20 crore from them to settle the matter. However, after negotiations, the amount was finally settled for Rs six crore, to be paid in instalments," he said. "On January 10, the company paid Rs 10 lakh to him as the first instalment. But the accused started pressuring them and threatened them he would not let them go ahead with the project," the official said.

The company approached Powai police and lodged a complaint. "Police laid a trap and arrested the accused and his associate red-handed from a hotel in Mulund while accepting the extortion amount of Rs one crore last evening," DCP (Zone X) N D Reddy said. The duo has been booked under IPC sections 384 (extortion) and 34 (common intention).

They were produced in a local court, which sent them to two-day police custody for further investigation into the matter, Reddy added.

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