Armed assailants threaten toll plaza attendants for Rs 10 lakh extortion

A suspected Sonipat-based gang has been threatening toll plaza attendants in outer Delhi to demand an extortion of Rs 10 lakh.

It is alleged that the gang members went to the toll plazas with country-made pistols, swords and lathis, police said on Thursday.

A case has been filed over a complaint filed with Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Ravindra Yadav.

“It states that local goons and bad elements have been demanding extortion money from toll nakas at KGT Narela Zone,” said a police officer.

The complaint is from the authorised contractor for collecting toll and Environment Compensation Charges (ECC) on behalf of South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC).
The incident occurred hours after the toll plazas began collecting ECC from commercial vehicles entering Delhi.

The charges are payable at the rates of Rs 700 for light duty vehicles and two-axle vehicles and Rs 1,300 for three-axle and above.

The toll plazas were told to collect green tax by SDMC in a letter dated January 29. 
According to police, a staff named Ravi Chokkar informed his seniors that the gang arrived at Jounti, Kutabgarh, Auchandi, Punjabkhor and nearby tolls under KGT Narela Zone on the afternoon of February 1.

“They were carrying country-made pistols, swords and lathis and threatened our staff. They refused to allow our company to collect government revenue without a payment of Rs 10 lakh,” Ravi stated in his complaint to police.

It is also alleged that the gang illegally captured the toll booths and forcibly collected toll and ECC from vehicles entering the capital.

“It caused heavy financial loss to the government,” Ravi added.
The gang left after abusing and threatening the staff with dire consequences. The leader identified himself as Sonipat-resident Bhuka.

He was there with his accomplices Neeraj Ghoja and Sunny.
Due to the threats, many of the toll plaza attendants have left the KGT Narela Zone.
A case under Indian Penal Code and Arms Act has been filed over Ravi’s statement with crime branch police station.

The charges under Indian Penal Code are of sections 385 (putting person in fear of injury to commit extortion), 387 (putting person in fear of death to commit extortion) and 506 (criminal intimidation).

A complaint has also been filed with SMDC Additional Commissioner-1.
In a bid to check high pollution levels in the capital, the Supreme Court had imposed ECC on commercial vehicles, in addition to the toll tax, from November 2015 for four months on a trial basis.

The apex court had directed the Delhi Government to issue appropriate notifications.

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