The Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB) of the Delhi government has arrested the enforcement in-charge of a COVID-19 team, along with a civil defence volunteer, for allegedly threatening spa owners in the Lajpat Nagar area and extorting Rs 50,000 from them, officials said on Thursday.
They said enforcement in-charge of the Southeast Delhi COVID-19 team Ravinder Singh Mehra and civil defence volunteer Imran Khan have been arrested in a case registered against them.
According to on official statement, Himanshu Malik, the owner of "Sutra Spa" in Lajpat Nagar, gave a complaint to the ACB alleging that Mehra has been threatening spa owners, saying their shops will be sealed unless they pay a monthly bribe.
The spa owners have valid licences and are following all Covid protocols, the complaint says.
It is alleged that initially, an amount of Rs 3 lakh per month was demanded from the spa owners by the accused, but it was negotiated to Rs 1 lakh.
On August 25, an ACB team laid a trap at the JPM Hotel, near Sapna Cinema in East of Kailash, and nabbed the accused while they were receiving Rs 50,000 from the complainant in a hotel room as the first installment of the bribe money, Special Commissioner (ACB) SK Gautam said.
"The accused bolted themselves inside the toilet and flushed down the bribe amount of Rs 50,000. However, Rs 25,000 were recovered from the toilet pot after breaking the toilet seat," he said.
As the designated enforcement in-charge of Southeast district, Mehra has been given the powers of an executive magistrate by the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) to enforce Covid protocols, including issuing challans and sealing of establishments or shops, the officer said, adding that 46 challaning teams work under him.
Further investigation in the matter is on, Gautam said.
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