This could happen anywhere to anyone- Beware!!!!

4 supermarket staffers held for extorting Rs 1L from shopper
TNN | Aug 15, 2014, 03.05 AM IST

BANGALORE: When Gourav Saxena went shopping on Monday at a supermarket in a mall on Bannerghatta Road, south Bangalore, this private firm employee had no inking of the bizarre and humiliating ordeal he would undergo. After he had finished shopping and was ready to exit, supermarket staffers checked his purchases, accused him of shoplifting and allegedly extorted Rs 1 lakh by threatening to turn him to police.

Hurt and shamed, Gourav knocked on the doors of Hulimavu police station, leading to what sleuths said was the busting of a supermarket racket that had allegedly extorted scores of shoppers after falsely accusing them of shoplifting.

Four staffers of HyperCity supermarket in Royal Meenakshi Mall, general manager Arpitha (37), loss prevention officer Sujatha, 29, administration manager Lokesh, 33 and loss prevention assistant T Shankaramurthy, 28, have been arrested. Police are questioning the quartet and collecting details on how many people had been victimized and the money involved.

Incidentally, another customer had come to Hulimavu police with a similar complaint but he did not press his plaint.

On Monday, Gourav ran a bill of Rs 1,108 for the household items he had purchased. On his way out, the security personnel stopped him at the gates and began checking his purchases. They pulled out a few items from his bag and said they had not been billed. They then accused Gourav of shoplifting, his complaint to the police said.

Gourav was immediately whisked into a room inside the supermarket for questioning. Some staffers began harassing him and threatened to inform police. They claimed they had caught Gourav red-handed. After some time, the staffers, including Arpitha, said they could save him from getting arrested if he paid them Rs 1 lakh.

"I was made to swipe my three debit cards but I was still short of Rs 28,000. The supermarket personnel asked me to leave behind my motorcycle in the market and take it only after I paid the full sum. I returned and paid them the balance amount in cash," Gourav said in his complaint.

A shattered Gourav returned home and decided to approach the police. A police team immediately swooped down on the supermarket.


Police sources said the quartet regularly extorted money from shoppers, falsely accusing them of shoplifting. "They did not bill some items deliberately. Gullible customers too rarely cross-checked the bill with what they had purchased. They would later be stopped by security personnel at the gates and accused of trying to siphon off unbilled items," sources explained. They said scores of shoppers appear to have been cheated.

'Many complaints against accused'

During their probe, police found the four accused staffers had been issued an ultimatum by their management after receiving complaints against them over the past one-and-a-half years. "The management had warned staffers of stringent action only a few days ago. All four confessed to their misdeed and were arrested," additional commissioner of police (crime-East) KV Sharath Chandra told TOI.

Supermarket reacts

We are in touch with the relevant authorities regarding this. We are fully cooperating with investigations.

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