A man accused of extorting Rs70,000 from a shopkeeper in Sohrab Goth broke down in tears in court on Thursday as a police officer testified how he had taken him into custody.
The case, dating to December 2011, is being heard by the Anti-Terrorism Court-I.
A police officer told the court that he was on patrol on December 25, 2011, when he was stopped by a shopkeeper in the area who ran a gas cylinder shop. “He had detained a man at the shop,” the officer told the court. “He said that the man had earlier taken Rs50,000 from him and had come back for Rs20,000 more.”
“What was the money for?” the judge asked the witness.
“For extortion,” the police officer replied.
The officer told the court that the alleged extortionist, Hafiz, had agreed on a sum of Rs70,000 with the shopkeeper. When he was taken into custody, the officer found Rs20,000, a gun and three bullets on him.
As the officer recounted the details, Hafiz’s loud sighs were audible in the courtroom, prompting other lawyers to turn to look. Shortly after, Hafiz began sobbing loudly. Judge Bashir Ahmed Khoso of the ATC-I told him to “keep quiet”.
He was then taken to the police station where a case was filed against him.
The defence lawyer then cross-examined the police officer. He asked whether the reason the shopkeeper had implicated the suspect was because the two had had a dispute. “Did the accused and the complainant not have a fight because the latter’s shop was in a mosque hujra and the accused wanted him to empty it?”
The officer said he was not aware of any such developments. The case was adjourned to September 11.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 17th, 2012.