By Our Reporter
SHILLONG, Nov 9: The Meghalaya Traders Fresh Vegetables & Ginger Association (MTFV&GA) has alleged that vegetable farmers are facing difficulties due to extortion by some groups.
MTFV&GA president, Ferdinand Mawrie said the farmers have not been able to sell their produce as there is a fear among the non-tribal traders following reports that some groups are extorting truckers.
Mawrie said this is the first time that the drivers of trucks, carrying vegetables and plying through Mawlai Bypass, are being extorted. He said the association received information about four extortion cases.
“But the association did not know there is an organised group that is involved in such extortion,” the MTFV&GA president said.
Recently, the police busted a gang involved in abducting and looting truck drivers by arresting three of its members in the East Khasi Hills district.
In a statement, Superintendent of Police (City) Vivek Syiem said three persons were nabbed by a team of the special cell at Mawlai Bypass. He said they had taken into their custody a truck driver from Lad Smit and forced him to call his owner to pay the extortion amount.
The arrests were made during an operation on November 6 with the help of members of MTFV&GA and Khasi Jaintia Fresh Vegetable Suppliers Association.
Syiem said the operation was conducted following receipt of inputs that a gang would lure truck drivers and convince their owners to buy vegetables at a lower rate.
The gang would take the driver somewhere near ISBT or Umiam for loading the vegetables.
However, after reaching there, they would abduct the driver, take him to a jungle and force him to inform the owner that the vegetables have been loaded and the owner should send the money online to the vegetable suppliers who actually are the abductors, the SP said.
The SP also said that the gang committed the same offence many times for which FIRs are being registered.
“The special cell is on the hunt for the rest of the gang members,” he said, adding that four mobile phones and one Maruti Swift Dzire have been seized from the arrested persons.
The SP said the involvement of the gang in other criminal activities cannot be ruled out. A case was registered with the Madanrting police station and investigation is on.