Man posing as Lokayukta SP arrested in Karwar

Man posing as Lokayukta SP arrested in Karwar

A 45-year-old man, who posed as the Lokayukta Superintendent of Police and took a bribe from officers, was arrested along with his aide by the police here on Wednesday.

Murigeppa Kumbara, a resident of Sadalaga in Chikodi taluk of Belgaum, and his aide Basavanna, a resident of Belgaum, were arrested. Kumbara, a former police constable, had been dismissed from service, police said.

Murigeppa called up officials saying he was the Lokayukta SP and demanded bribe in exchange for not exposing them. Basavanna provided his bank account number for the ‘transaction’. Two others - Ashok Tirakannavar and Amar - were also part of the racket. However, Ashok and Amar are already at Hindalaga Jail in Belgaum, police said.

A few days ago, Murigeppa called up an executive engineer of the Engineering Sub-Division of the Zilla Panchayat in Sirsi.

He threatened to expose the alleged irregularities and demanded bribe to bury the issue. However, the engineer - who got suspicious - lodged a complaint with Lokayukta SP D S Jagamaiah.

Later, Jagamaiah lodged a complaint with the city police station about the impostor on December 28. He also gave the mobile phone number from which calls were made.

A team comprising PSI Nischal Kumar, ASI Nayan Babu Kanakonakar and constable Hanumant Kabade scrutinised more than 200 calls made from the number and landed at Chikodi. With the help of the local police, they zeroed in on the culprits.

As many as seven cases had been lodged across North Karnataka against the culprits. They are, Hubli City in 2005, Hubli Suburb in 2006, Belgaum Market in 2007, Gajendragad in 2008, Yalburga in 2009, Aland and Hirekerur in 2010.

Kumbara joined police force as a constable in 1986. Kumbara was accused of misusing the bus warrant. He was dismissed from service after he was found guilty in 1998.
Kumbara had a knack for blackmailing and extorting money from officers. He targeted RTOs, TP EOs and ZP Engineering Division officers. Kumbara, before calling the officials, used to gather information about them. Honest officers would challenge him, but others quietly transferred the money to his account.

However, Kumbara has a word of wisdom: “People who give bribe are as culpable as those who receive them.”

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