They are charged with extortion, drug peddling in six police stations in Mangalore
City police said the members of a gang, arrested for kidnapping and filming two medical students in the nude in a bid to extort money from them, were repeat offenders. They were into peddling drugs, extortion and harassing students in Deralakatte, police said on Monday.
Residents of the area said the gang was using some of the vacant houses in the area to sell narcotic drugs. “They were regular to a roadside tea stall near a medical college. They were harassing students passing by. They had created nuisance in our area,” said an elderly man from the area, who did not want to be identified.
He said residents had lodge a complaint with Ullal police about the accused. “The police did arrest them for illegal possession of narcotics but they managed to come out and continue with their activities,” he said.
The city police team, led by Deputy Commissioners of Police K.V. Jagadeesh and D. Dharmaiah, arrested eight persons allegedly involved in the kidnapping the two students near their hostel, on Saturday.
The police acted after girl reported the incident on Friday about the way she and her friend were abducted and made to strip and to sit in indecent positions. The gang allegedly videoed the two using mobile phones and threatened to make it public if they failed to give Rs. 3 lakh.
The police said the arrested members of the gang were Safhan Hussain (21), Shameer (24), Nawaz (21), Imran Altaf (23), Ikbal Arif (21), Abdul Ravoof (22), Nissar Ahmed (18) and Arafat (18). The police alleged Nawaz was involved in the illegal sale of ganja. There were cases against him in Konaje and Kadri police stations. Shameer, Safhan Hussain and another arrested person have cases of extortion registered against them in Surathkal, Mulki, Mangalore Rural and Surathkal police stations. The rest of the accused have been caught for the first time.
The police said the accused picked the two students from a deserted area near the medical hostel.
“It looks like a one-off incident of extortion. We are finding whether there are any more victims,” said a senior police officer.
A senior advocate, who helped the girl and the boy, said the way the accused have conducted themselves indicated the gang’s involvement in harassing many other couple. “Though I face risk for my life, I am happy that I was of help to the two students,” she said and added that the accused had badly hit the boy, who has fractured his right hand and there were bursaries on his face.
Meanwhile,City Police Commissioner R. Hithendra said the police were preparing a water-tight case against the accused. “We want to ensure that these accused are convicted,” Mr. Hithendra said. People should come forward to report to police incidents of harassment and nuisance. “You have seen the way we have acted on this complaint,” he said.