A city-based garage owner was allegedly cheated of around Rs 1.65 crore in a property deal by a man who stuffed blank papers in a bag and handed it over to the victim telling it contained currency notes of Rs 2,000 denomination. The incident took place on Monday when Pankaj Lakhtariya sold off his three shops and a residential house opposite police chowky on Kothariya road of the city to one Vipul Lokhil. Bhaktinagar police said that Lokhil convinced Lakhtariya to sign sale deed of the property and get it registered at the office of sub-registrar of the government on Monday by giving him a cheque worth Rs 1.65 crore.
Police said Lokhil had promised to pay Lakhtariya Rs 1.65 crore in cash against the sale of three shops and the house around a week back. To win the seller’s confidence, Lokhil also gave him a cheque worth the same amount. But before signing the property transfer papers, Lakhtariya, who runs a garage for repairing two-wheelers, demanded payment in cash on Monday. Subsequently, Lokhil asked Lakhtariya’s son Sunny to meet his men behind Crystal Mall on Kalavad Road of the city and collect the money. There, four men handed over eight bundles to Sunny saying each contained 1000 currency notes of Rs 2,000 denomination.
Police said that 21-year-old Sunny checked the bundles and found currency notes of Rs 2,000 denominations at the top and bottom. He accepted the payment. The accused stuffed the bundles in a school bag and closed its jeep with a tiny lock. Sunny told his father over phone that the payment had been received. Upon this confirmation, Lakhtariya signed papers of the property while agreeing to wait for a day for the balance payment of Rs 5 lakh.
“The victim waited for a day but after getting no response from the buyer, who had switched off his phone, he broke the tiny lock and opened the bag containing the cash late on Tuesday. To his disbelief, Lakhtariya found that there were genuine currency notes only on top and bottom of each bundle. Thus, there were 16 currency notes with the face value of Rs 32,000 only. The remaining 7,984 pieces were blank papers cut to the size of currency notes,” Bhaktinagar police inspector Viral Gadhvi said on Wednesday.
Police said that to make them look like genuine currency notes, the accused had painted the sides of the blank paper in dark pink colour. When the victim failed to contact the accused, he filed a complaint with Bhaktinagar police at 11:10 pm on Tuesday. In his complaint, Lakhtariya named Raju Thummar, Bharat Patel, Rahul Aghera, Vipul Lokhil and Haresh Chhaiya as accused. Based on this complaint, Bhaktinagar police booked the five for criminal breach of trust, cheating and criminal conspiracy.
Police said that Lokhil was a resident of Munjka village on the outskirts of the city while efforts were on to identify other accused. “Based on the details in the cheque, we have also sought details of Lokhil’s account from the bank,” Gadhvi further said adding no arrest were made in the case till Wednesday evening.