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Bombay HC rejects bail to foreign national accused of duping couple of Rs 2.53 crore

Notes that instances of online frauds on the rise

Written by Omkar Gokhale | Mumbai |
April 25, 2021 8:17:49 pm
The HC on Tuesday held that facts on record “prima facie raise suspicion about bonafides of the complainant” and that such “modus operandi was undertaken to foist Wada Magistrate jurisdiction,” while no part of the transaction was shown to have been undertaken there.

The Bombay High Court recently refused to grant bail to one of the accused involved in a conspiracy wherein nearly Rs 2.53 crore was extracted from a couple in the name of transferring $1.8 million from Iran to India.

A single-judge bench of Justice Sarang V Kotwal on April 21 passed an order on a plea by David Markas, a foreign national, filed through advocate Ashish Baraskar, seeking release on bail in relation to a crime registered in 2019 at Khadakpada police station, Kalyan for cheating, forgery and provisions under Information Technology Act for ‘online fraud’.

As per the complaint filed by the informant wife, they had visited Bangkok in 2017 and on their return, the husband befriended a woman claiming to be an American living in Iran on Facebook.

The woman claimed that her husband was serving in the military and had died in the war and he had left $1.8 million dollars for herself and her 12-year-old son, but her brother-in-law was forcing her to marry him. The woman convinced the couple that she wanted to bring the money to India and for that she sought help from the informant’s husband to transfer the amount to India, which the couple agreed to.

Thereafter, the couple was contracted by different persons asking them to deposit various amounts for different processes and parcels sent by the woman.

Ultimately, the couple realised that they were cheated, and by that time they had lost nearly Rs 2.53 crore to various accounts mentioned by callers and visitors to their homes. The wife then filed an FIR.

The police then laid a trap when applicant Markas called the couple to the domestic airport in Mumbai to hand over nearly Rs 16 lakh for purchase of a machine that was to be used for cleaning American dollars. The applicant was arrested by Kalyan Police in February 2019.

Advocate Baraskar for the applicant argued that the wife had not mentioned the name of his client in the complaint and there was no recovery from him and no amount was paid to him, therefore he did not have any active role in the crime as attributed to him. Baraskar also submitted that when the applicant was arrested, his passport and visa were valid and therefore he was residing in India on valid documents. In view of this, the applicant sought his release on regular bail.

Rejecting the bail plea, the bench held, “The applicant’s complicity in the offence is more than clear. The offence is serious. No case for bail is made out. Such instances are on the rise, therefore, it would not be proper to release the accused on bail, who is involved in such offence.”

 

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