Man held for extorting money from passengers

A 24-year-old man was arrested on Saturday for extorting money from passengers in lieu of seats in a general compartment of a train, a day after videos of the incident went viral on social media.

He was arrested by the Railway Protection Force (RPF) and handed over to the Government Railway Police (GRP).

The police said the accused, Rafique Mohammad Sheikh, used to work as a porter at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) without a licence. “He is a resident of Diva. We are interrogating him for details and analysing CCTV camera footage to see since when has been carrying out this racket,” Hemant Bawdhankar, senior police inspector, CSMT GRP police station, said. Mr. Sheikh has been charged under Sections 384, 341 and 34 of the Indian Penal Code for extortion and wrongful restraint of persons.

K.K. Ashraf, senior divisional security commissioner, Mumbai division, Central Railway, said, “Our anti-tout squad was put on alert after the video surfaced and we apprehended him from the station.”

In the videos, the accused is seen in a black T-shirt demanding money from passengers in a general compartment of a train at CSMT. RPF officials said prima facie the video doesn’t look like a recent one since the crowd in the compartment is much thinner than that seen in the summer rush. “He has told us the video was old and that he was no longer wearing the black T-shirt,” an RPF official said. In CCTV camera footage from May 7 to 11, the man is seen roaming around the station. RPF officials said they are analysing footage to see who his accomplices may be.

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