Entrapment at Boat Basin: Police officer recounts arrest of alleged extortionist

Published: May 26, 2012

According to the court prosecutor, the two men reportedly sent an extortion ‘chit’ to a doctor, Abdul Aziz, demanding Rs200,000.

KARACHI: A police officer testified to his assistance in entrapping an alleged extortionist at Boat Basin while using the help of the suspect’s accomplice, at the Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) 3 on Friday

Witnesses were presented in the case of Mohammad Asif and Javed, being heard by Judge Ghulam Mustafa Memon. The men have been charged under sections 385, 386, 506-B and 34 of the Pakistan Penal Code.

According to the court prosecutor, the two men reportedly sent an extortion ‘chit’ to a doctor, Abdul Aziz, demanding Rs200,000. The doctor is believed to have paid around Rs20,000 to at least one of the men. The prosecutor also said that the extortion slip featured a drawing of a bullet and said that the doctor’s life would be priced at Rs38, which is the cost of a bullet.

The Specialised Investigation Team Saddar officer, Naeem Ahmed, who testified on Friday said that he was a member of ASI Hussain Bux Bhutto’s team which had been directed to check street crimes and arrest those involved.

Undercover at KFC

On August 19, 2011 the team received a tip-off that a person “involved in the gang war which sent Dr Aziz a bhatta parchi” was near the Baghdadi crossing. The team, with a civilian informant, went to the site and arrested Mohammad Asif, whose alias is ‘dada’. They found an extortion slip, a cell phone with two SIM cards, a separate SIM card and Rs70 in his possession. Asif was then taken to Boat Basin, where ASI Bhutto asked him to call his accomplice, Javed, and ask him to come to the same location under the pretence that he was involved in an accident. The exact location was the subject of a brief debate which was settled by a smiling judge.

“We were at a corner,” said Ahmed. “Where?” asked a lawyer. “Near KFC,” he replied.

The lawyer was set to debate the location of KFC but Judge Memon intervened by using his own knowledge of the area and establishing that KFC was indeed located on a corner.

Javed reportedly arrived at 12:30 am and soon as Asif identified his alleged accomplice, the police arrested him. This arrest apparently went unnoticed as Ahmed explained that “people cannot tell what we’re doing since we’re quite adept at making such arrests while in civilian clothes”.

The defence counsel disputed the details of the arrest, alleging that ASI Bhutto had actually arrested some people from Lyari but released them after being paid off. The two men on trial were picked up so they could be implicated instead. The charge was denied by Ahmed.

He also told the court that they did not need to inform several police stations that they were operating in, such as Kharadar which has jurisdiction over the Baghdadi crossing, since they were allowed to operate and detain people in the vicinity of 13 police stations in Karachi.

The next hearing is set for June 6. One of the detainees also asked the judge to look into his complaint to change the barrack he was being housed in, since it had “no water” and he “couldn’t pray”.

“Everyone remembers prayers in jail, no one remembers it outside,” remarked Judge Memon, but he said he would speak to the jailor.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 26th, 2012.

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