04 Apr 2024  |   06:45am IST

Govt officers on election duty, caught doing extortion duty

Posing as IT officials, two govt staffers on election duty, stopped a car from the airport and seized Rs 16 lakh from its occupants
Govt officers on election duty,  caught doing extortion duty

Team Herald

MARGAO: Two government staffers posted on election duty for Lok Sabha polls were suspended for allegedly extorting Rs 16 lakh by posing as IT officers at Vasco, with immediate effect.

Nitish Navnath Naik, LDC, working in the officer of the Executive Engineer, Electricity Department, Division XI, Vasco and Anirudha Pawar, Municipal Engineer Grade-III, working in the office of the Mormugao Municipal Council were suspended by the South Goa Collector A Asvin Chandru, who is the District Election Officer (DRO) for South Goa constituency.

The incident occurred on Sunday, when two tourists from Delhi were travelling from Dabolim Airport to Panjim. Naik received a tip-off that the two tourists were travelling with Rs 16 lakh in cash and he intercepted the taxi near Zuarinagar. Naik is learnt to have posed as Income-Tax official and showed them his identity card issued by the Election Commission for the election duty.

Soon Pawar reached the spot in another vehicle and both allegedly extorted Rs 16 lakh from the two tourists, who were carrying the cash for a land dealing in the State. One of the tourists identified as Yashwant Choudhary, a businessman, immediately informed the incident to an officer hailing from Delhi and posted in Goa and the investigations commenced.

For two days both the employees denied the incident and told the police that they had recovered bags containing liquor bottles. But after producing CCTV footages and police investigations, the two broke down and confessed to the crime.

The Verna Police have registered a case against both Naik and Pawar under Sections 384 and 419 of IPC and Verna PI Melson Colaco is conducting investigations under the guidance of Vasco DySP Santosh Dessai and SP South Sunita Sawant.

The staffers were deputed  from their parent departments for election duty. Naik was posted in the Information and Technology Cell of Collectorate and Returning Officer South Goa District, Margao while, Pawar was posted as Flying Squad in-charge of Dabolim Assembly constituency.

In separate orders, the South Goa Collector stated that both the employees acted in unauthorised manner outside their official capacity thereby failed to discharge their election duties as per the guidelines laid down by the Election Commission of India (ECI) and acted in a manner showing gross negligence and dereliction towards their duties.


Iddhar Udhar