Three persons, including the son of the vice-president of the Gadag-Betageri City Municipality Council, have been arrested for allegedly taking loans against low-quality or fake gold ornaments from banks and private persons, Bengaluru police said.
The accused, arrested Wednesday, were identified as Dattatreya Bakale (28), son of Sunanda Bakale, the vice-president of the Gadag-Betageri City Municipality Council; Arun Raju Kanade (30) from Shivamogga and Sathyananda (28) from Udupi.
According to the police, the incident recently came to light after Sathyananda pledged a low-quality gold ornament at the Vijaynagar branch of Bank of Baroda.
When the bank staff showed the ornament to their appraiser Kiran E Seth, it was revealed that the yellow metal produced by Sathyananda is only 9 per cent pure. The bank officials confronted Sathyananda and also found out that the gang had earlier pledged about 700 gm of gold ornaments and had availed loans from the bank.
Branch manager Mahesh Kumar filed a cheating case against Sathyananda and the other accused at the Vijayanagar police station. The police managed to arrest all the accused and seized about 1.5 kg of gold that they had pledged in various branches of Bank of Baroda in Bengaluru.
The probe revealed that the accused procured the fake or low quality gold ornaments from Kolkata. According to police sources, a jewellery shop in Kolkata supplied them gold chains, bracelets and other ornaments using aluminium coated with low purity gold. The accused then illegally stamped hallmark seals on the ornaments.
The police said that although the case was registered in September, it had become hard for them to arrest Dattatreya as most of the time he stayed outside the state. A police officer said, “We came to know that Dattatreya is in Surat and asked Kanade to call him on the false pretext that he had met with an accident and was hospitalised. Dattatreya immediately flew back to Bengaluru and was caught at the Kempegowda International Airport where he confessed to his crime.”
The police said that the gang operated in several towns of Karnataka. Besides Bengaluru, they have earlier sold fake ornaments in Gadag, Shivamogga, Udupi, Mysuru and other districts. A police officer said that the accused spent the money on leading a lavish life and also spent at casinos in Goa. “We have sent a team to north India to unearth more details,” the officer added.