LAHORE - The Crimes Investigation Agency (CIA) on Wednesday smashed a racket of extortionists by arresting its three key members during a successful operation, police sources said.

The CIA police (city division) have smashed an extortion racket by arresting the ringleader of the gang and his two accomplices. The police identified the ringleader of the gang as M Waqas, alias Minister, and his accomplices Mohsin, alias Changa, and Abdul Rehman alias Heera.

A police spokesperson said that the criminals used to demand huge amount of cash from local businessmen and traders by hurtling threats at them on cellular phones. The arrested criminals were so desperate that they also used to harass the well-to-do family at gunpoint to extort money. The police have also recovered automatic weapons from their possession, officials said.

Lahore Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Chaudhry Shafiq Ahmed while taking notice of the incidents of extortion of money being reported in the town issued special instructions to DIG (Operations) Muhammad Tahir Rai and DIG (Investigation) Zulfiqar Hameed to track down the criminals’ gang. The police teams of the investigation, operations and CIA wings were alerted and directed to step up vigilance in some identified parts of the city.

A special police team headed by SP (CIA) Muhammad Umar Virk and comprising DSP (City) Khalid Abubakar and other officials collected particulars of the gang and arrested three men during a successful raid. It was revealed during the interrogation that Waqas alias Minister and his two accomplices Changa and Heera were wanted to the police in several cases. At least four cases of heinous crimes, registered in the Shadbagh police station, have also been traced against the gangsters.

Police officials further revealed that the criminals had shot at and injured a citizen Suleman and a watchman of Iqbal Book Depot Shadbagh for not paying extortion money in February and March 2013. Further investigation is underway. DIG Investigation Zulfiqar Hameed has announced cash prizes and commendatory certificates for the police team.

Murder

A 23-year-old man who was admitted to hospital with bullet injuries expired there shortly on Wednesday. Police said that Muhammad Waqas sustained bullet wounds during a scuffle, which took place in the Shafiqabad police area. The deceased and the killer are said to be neighbours.

On the day of incident Sohail Ahmed exchanged harsh words with Waqas over some issue and later opened fire at him. The body was removed to the morgue for autopsy.