Mumbai: The Latur superintendent of police (SP) has arrested four police officers for allegedly extorting Rs 1.5 lakh from a gold merchant. The police officers were also dismissed from service with immediate effect for allegedly threatening the victim that if he did not pay the cash, he would face severe action for his alleged violation of the Lok Sabha election’s model code of conduct.

Inspector General (law & order) Milind Bharambe reportedly said that Latur SP Rajendra Mane had initially held a preliminary probe against the four police officials. The arrest was finally made upon confirming that the officers had extorted and robbed a person of his money. Bharambe was quoted by a daily as saying, “We will never tolerate involvement of police personnel in criminal activities. We invoked Article 311 of the constitution to dismiss them.”

The four police officers who were involved in the crime were Shrihari Ram Davargave, Shyam Bade, Mahesh Khelge and Ramesh Borle. They had allegedly detained a merchant in Latur’s Udgir tehsil, who had carried Rs 6 lakh cash with him. He was falsely accused of violating the model code of conduct by the four officers who then extorted Rs 1.5 lakh and returned the remaining amount to him, stated a senior officer.

After the incident, the merchant registered a complaint in this regard to Mane. He also had valid documents for cash possession. Thereafter four police officers were arrested and were booked under the relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) such as sections 392 (robbery) and 384 (extortion) and then dismissed from service. The officer was quoted by the leading daily as saying, “The Superintendent of Police is a competent authority for dismissal. Article 311 of the Constitution, which empowers the competent authority to dismiss without inquiry in public interest, was invoked against the erring police officials.”