Police probing extortion charges against 2 SOG DSPs

Greater Kashmir

Srinagar, June 23: For the first time in the past 16 years police has filed cases against two deputy superintendents of police (DSPs) of the infamous Special Operations Group and some other persons on charges of coercion, extorting money from common people, and falsely implicating them in cases leading to their imprisonment.
The accused DSPs are notorious SOG (formerly called as STF and now part of Jammu Kashmir Police) officers, Muhammad Yusuf Mir and Devender Singh.
The revelation surfaced after police re-opened a case (156/2005) filed in Saddar Police Station last year, which was hushed up at behest of another top police officer.
Sources in police said that an owner of a brick kiln, Nazir Ahmad Sofi son of Ali Muhammad of Rakhshalna, Budgam, wanted to buy a JCB and a Tipper after getting a construction contract from Indian Railways. He consulted Muhammad Ashraf Wani son of Gulzar Ahmad of Nowpora, Sopur, a fruit merchant about the proposed purchase of Tipper and JCB.
Wani introduced Sofi to five men involved in fake currency making. They are Mushtaq Ahmad Gilkar (Fateh Kadal), Showkat Ahmad Mir alias Jana son of Muhammad Sultan (Khanyar), Masood Ahmad (Chanpora), Ghulam Mohiuddin Dar alias Zahid (Zewan Pulwama) and Altaf Ahmad Udi (Uri). These five men took Sofi to Delhi and told him that he would have to pay Rs 10 lakhs to the JCB and Tipper dealer. He handed in the money but after a few months he was told the dealer had defrauded him and he won’t get his money back.
One of the accused, Mushtaq Ahmad Gilkar then offered Rs 50 lakhs fake currency to the wronged kiln owner in lieu of original Rs 25 lakhs. Fake currency notes of Rs 40000 were deposited by one of the accused in his bank account (No. 895) in Lasjan branch of J&K Bank. Lured by the prospect of riches, the kiln owner was asked to deposit Rs 25 lakhs but he could only collect Rs 16 lakhs. He handed in the money to Muhammad Ashraf, the fruit dealer from Sopur and informed the other accused from Bemina locality that he has arranged the money. They told him to deposit money in Rawalpora branch.
On November 2, 2005, Sofi took the money in a car and along with the other accused persons traveled toward Rawalpora when at some distance Altaf Uri joined them in another vehicle.
However, the accused DSPs Muhammad Yusuf Mir and Devender Singh stopped both the vehicles at some distance and took away Rs 6 lakhs. The accused men were told that money recovered from them was Hawala and that they are detained for money laundering. Nazir Ahmad Sofi, Mushtaq Ahmad Gilkar, and Muhammad Ashraf of Sopur were detained a Sopur Joint Interrogation Centre (JIC) and during night their signatures were taken on a plain sheet of paper.
The accused DSPs phoned the wife of Muhammad Ashraf of Sopur and asked her to arrange Rs 1 lakh for husband’s release failing which he would be failed or killed. She sold her gold ornaments and handed in Rs 1 lakh to DSP Muhammad Yusuf Mir.
Nazir Ahmad Sofi, who lost nearly Rs 27 lakhs in this whole affair, after his release demanded his money back from the accused DSPs but he was again put behind the bars. The Senior Superintendent of Police Varmul Ashkoor Wani advised him to keep his mouth shut. However, Sofi filed an FIR in Saddar Police Station but the investigating officer sat over the case at the behest of the accused officers. Sofi pleaded that case should be reinvestigated.
Recently the Superintendent of Police (SP) South Srinagar requested Inspector General of Police (IGP) that he may be allowed question the accused officers and hold their identification parade.
The SP South also requested the Telecom authorities for the details of mobile phone calls made by the accused officers and two of the accused working for them. Sources said that the accused DSPs and an SP were into the business of extortion for the past decade. They had extorted lakhs of rupees from a municipal official and dozens of civilians. Fearing the “bestial” police officers, people wouldn’t open their mouth.
The SSP Srinagar Syed Mujtaba told CNS that SP South is investigating the case and police is arranging for transfer of the two detained accused men, Ghulam Mohiuddin Dar alias Zahid of Pulwama and Masood Makhdoomi son of Masood-ur-Rahman of Chanpora from Delhi Jail to Srinagar. He said guilty persons in this case won’t be spared.
Director General of Police Gopal Sharma told CNS that after investigations guilty persons would be punished according to law and if found guilty there would be no relaxation to police officers.
It must be mentioned that Fourth Additional District and Sessions Judge in July 2003 directed the government to take action against Ashkoor Wani and Devender Singh after finding them guilty of extorting money from civilians at gunpoint. However, the government ignored the court orders and instead promoted Ashkoor Wani to the rank of a district police chief and Devender Singh as DSP.