"they revealed they are operating a police station nearby."
An Indian gang has been arrested for running a fake police station out of a hotel, extorting money from hundreds of unsuspecting people.
The fraudsters dressed up as officers and ran the operation for eight months. It was revealed that the bogus station was just 500 metres away from a legitimate police station.
The fake police station was located in the centre of Banka, Bihar.
The gang consisted of six members and they took money from locals who wanted to file complaints, report crimes and fill in applications for government assistance.
Among the ringleaders was Anita Devi Murmu, who was caught wearing police uniform and a black cap. She also had a pistol in a brown holster.
Murmu admitted to posing as the head of the station.
According to reports, Murmu would speak to locals and promise solutions to their problems in exchange for money, with amounts ranging from £1 to £500.
The fake station was also led by Aakash Kumar Manjhi, who wore fake badges on his shoulders and posed as a deputy superintendent.
The pair were caught on August 17, 2022, trying to scam business owners in a local mall.
When questioned, Murmu and Manjhi claimed they were conducting a site inspection of the shopping mall.
Shambhu Yadav, who leads Banka’s real police station, said:
“They talked to a few applicants and told them to visit the police station on Thursday for allotment of shops.”
As the pair walked back from the site, Officer Yadav noticed that Murmu’s gun was not a police standard-issue revolver.
When he asked her where she was posted, she became nervous.
Officer Yadav said: “We took them to the real police station and during interrogation, they revealed they are operating a police station nearby.”
The fake station was raided and officers recovered four uniforms, 40 electoral identity cars, cheque books and five mobile phones.
They also found 500 unsent application forms for the government’s special housing scheme, which provides affordable shelter for poor people.
Officials said: “For a routine police complaint, they would charge from Rs. 100 to 500 (£1 to £5) but for allotment of houses and police jobs, the bribe would be in several thousand rupees.”
The forms and complaints were never sent on.
One officer said: “We have heard cases of fake cops or investigating officers in the country.
“This is the first time we have heard of a fake police station.”
Murmu and Manjhi were arrested along with three others – Ramesh Kumar, Wakil Kumar and Julie Kumari Manjhi.
Bola Yadav, who is believed to be the leader of the Indian gang, remains at large.
Preliminary investigations revealed that he had also reportedly set up an “escort police team” in Patna to offer up jobs for the police and other departments in return for money.
He also allegedly extorted money from government officials facing corruption cases in exchange for favourable inquiry reports.
Murmu and Julie Manjhi have denied any wrongdoing. They claimed that they were victims of a scam and thought they were given real police jobs.