Agency (New Delhi): In a recent development from Morbi, Gujarat, authorities have uncovered a scheme involving bogus toll plazas. These illegal setups were found on a national highway, with the primary aim to extort money from unsuspecting motorists. The police have registered a case against five individuals, including the owner of a non-operational ceramic unit, who have been clearly identified in this fraudulent activity.
The accused set up makeshift toll plazas and forced drivers to use them instead of the legitimate toll booths operated by the government. These fake tolls charged less, luring motorists into using them. One of the main perpetrators, Amreesh Patel, was noted for establishing two gates on the boundary of his closed ceramic unit, strategically placed to divert vehicles from the official toll plaza.
Furthermore, four of the five accused directed vehicles through two railway crossings in Nava Vaghasiya village, located on the opposite side of the highway, again to avoid the government toll. This tactic was replicated by others in the village, setting up similar fraudulent toll stations and charging fees.
These individuals have been charged with extortion, criminal breach of trust, and criminal intimidation, among other offenses under the Indian Penal Code (IPC). The police are actively seeking to arrest these individuals. This unlawful operation, which has been ongoing for some time, also included threats to officials of the authorized toll plaza.
The origin of this illegal toll plaza can be traced back to the economic downturn approximately 18 months ago, which led to the shutdown of the ceramic factory owned by one of the accused. By establishing these bogus tolls, they compelled vehicles to choose their setups over the official ones, benefiting financially from the lower charges imposed on the vehicles. The police are continuing their investigation into this matter, aiming to put an end to such fraudulent activities and bring the culprits to justice.