Thane, November 4, 2023: As per media reports, the Maharashtra Police has busted the purported RTI Gang who allegedly used RTI replies to threaten and blackmail government officials to extort large sums of money from them, an official said here on Saturday.
According to the news agency IANS, following a complaint lodged by one Jayant D. Jople, a Class II officer, the Thane Police Anti-Extortion Cell lodged the investigations, said the Cell’s head, Senior Police Inspector Shekhar Bagde.
The trio was produced before a Thane Magistrate who remanded them to police custody till November 7.
The team detected a three-member gang of Santosh B. Hire, 44, local reporter and RTI activist of Ambernath town in Thane, Nashik-based RTI crusader Subhash N. Patil, 40, besides a journalist from Nashik Shamshad S. Pathan, 48, who had approached the complainant on Thursday.
The trio of Hire, Patil and Pathan claimed to have got incriminating evidence of corruption through RTI pertaining to the complainant Jople’s department.
They threatened to expose Jople through media publicity, and even approach his senior to suspend or sack him from service for his alleged activities, but demanded Rs 2 lakh to suppress the matter.
Jople approached the Thane AEC which set up a trap and arrested the trio red-handed when they were accepting an amount of Rs 1.50 lakh from him in a restaurant in Kalwa.
Police interrogation of the accused and further investigations revealed that many so-called RTI activists were indulging in threats and extortion in the name of RTI activism in different towns of Thane like Bhiwandi, Kalyan, Ulhasnagar, Badlapur, among others.
“Such elements are giving a bad name to RTI and misusing the information they secure under it. The people should not fall prey to such tactics and approach the police,” said an officer.