Rawalpindi-A gang of criminals involved in detaining and harassing female team of Punjab Food Authority along with Dolphin Force members was caught red handed collecting extortion from bakery owners by impersonating inspectors of PFA and members of media outlet, sources disclosed to The Nation on Friday.

Local traders caught the criminal along with three accomplices including a woman and handed them over to police, they added.

The detained gang members were identified as Syed Ramzan Bukhari, Muhammad Rashid alias Sheeda Welder, Michal and Mehwish Chaudhry.

However, police set free the gang of criminals without initiating legal action against them, sources added. 

It was reported that the bakery owner was pressurized by his one of his neighbours to pardon the gang, sources added. Traders also agitated outside Police Picket Girja and demanded police to take action against extortionists or else they would march towards City Police Officer Office to register their protest.

A police officer said that two gang members were accused of attacking PFA female team on Adiala Road and is on bail granted by additional session’s judge.

According to sources, a gang of criminals entered the bakery located at Girja Road at 7:45pm and a man named Syed Ramzan Bukhari introduced himself as an inspector of PFA.

They said the imposter food inspector tried to impose a fine on bakery owner Muhammad Yusaf for unclean conditions and selling poor quality products. On this, another gang member Muhammad Rashid came forward and requested the imposter for showing sympathy to Yusaf since he was a poor man.

Syed Ramzan Bukhari then demanded Rs 5000 as extortion from him. Yusaf tried to bargain saying he could only pay Rs 3000. However, Ramzan denied and took Rs 5000 from him and left the shop.

A large numbers of traders and shopkeepers gathered when the gang tried to collect extortion from Akbar Sweets and caught the fraudsters.

Sources said the traders handed over the gang members to police which took them to police picket Girja. However, instead of registering an FIR against the accused, police released the gang, sources said.

Muhammad Yusaf, the bakery owner, told The Nation that Ramzan Bukhari took Rs 5000 from him as extortion by impersonating Inspector PFA. He said he had to pardon the gang on pressure of his neighbour Arshad Qureshi who claimed to be associated with media outlet. “I am very poor and sick and can’t deal with criminals. The gang did not return my money. I will lodge a complaint with Deputy Commissioner and CPO for legal action against the gang,” he said.

SP Saddar Circle Iftikhar Ul Haq, when contacted, vowed to launch action against gang. “Police are already probing Ramzan, Rashid, Shehzad Qureshi, Raja Kamran and Zahid Mirza for their involvement in attack on PFA female team on Adiala Road,” said a police officer.

 He said the criminals were awarded bail by court of an ASJ that also ordered police to submit complete chellan of case on 14/2/2018, the next date of hearing. DC Talat Mehmood Gondal was not available for comment on the matter.

DG PFA Noor ul Amin Mengal in his comments said he would investigate the matter as to how a criminal impersonated inspector PFA.