They are accused of threatening drivers transporting illegally filtered sand

The Bangalore Rural district police on Tuesday arrested 22 activists of the Karnataka Rakshana Vedike (KRV) for extorting from lorry drivers transporting illegally filtered sand.

The arrested persons, led by self-proclaimed district president of KRV Ambarish, have been booked for extortion, assault and criminal intimidation. They have been remanded in judicial custody.

Vishwanathpura police said the extortion came to light when KRV activists assaulted a lorry driver who refused to pay up. The driver escaped and sought help from village residents nearby. They caught hold of Ambarish and his associates and handed them over to the police.

Preliminary enquiry revealed that the accused used to collect information about illegal activities and threatened to expose the culprits if they did not give in. Police seized seven cars used by the accused. They are on the lookout for other accused.

KRV refutes charge

When contacted, KRV State president Narayana Gowda rubbished the extortion charge and argued that the members were only trying to expose the illegal sand mafia. Many transporters are digging up hundreds of acres of government land for sand, which is filtered and transported to the city to be sold to construction companies, he alleged. He accused the authorities of turning a blind eye. “When some of our activists went to expose the filter sand mafia, lorry drivers and other people involved in this racket foisted a false complaint,” he alleged. “Look at the irony. Police admit that sand transportation is illegal, but arrest KRV activists who exposed the culprits.”

More In: Bangalore