IN YET another instance of a commuter being duped by a suspected gang that is targeting senior citizens on railway stations, a 74-year-old Vasai resident was cheated of money and jewellery by two men who allegedly claimed to know him and then “hypnotised” him, police said.
A similar complaint had been registered last month, when a woman had been duped by a girl. As per the railway police, several such complaints have been registered in the past few months.
The Vasai resident was duped last week, said an officer. According to the police, Babubhai Patel left his Vasai residence on Monday afternoon, and took a train to Malad, where his office is located. Around 4:30 pm, as he got off the train, two men approached him.
“The first man told him ‘arey uncle pehchana ki nahin’. As Patel tried to recollect if he knew that man, another came up and claimed to know him well,” an officer from Malad police station said.
The duo then started telling Patel that he was meeting them after a long time, he has said in his complaint. Some way into the conversation, Patel handed over his gold chain and Rs 5,000 to the accused. After they left, Patel, who felt dazed, sat down for a few minutes, and then realised what had happened.
The senior citizen later approached the Malad police, where an FIR was registered against unidentified persons. The police registered a case of cheating as the complainant lost his gold chain worth Rs 50,000 and Rs 5000 in cash.
The officer said, Normally, in such cases, the accused give a spiked drink or food to their victims and wait for them to lose consciousness. In this case, however, Patel says he didn’t eat or drink anything given by the duo. So, we suspect they hypnotised him.”
“We are scanning CCTV cameras at the Malad station for the time mentioned by the complainant. He has also given us a detailed description of how the duo looked. There seems to be a gang involved that targets people, especially senior citizens, in trains by befriending them and then making way with their cash and valuables, the officer added.
A similar incident had taken place last month, when a nurse working at a south Mumbai hospital was cheated by a woman of her gold chain and cash. The woman started talking to the nurse in the train and offered her a spiked soft drink. She then took her gold chain and purse and fled from the spot. The Wadala government railway police is investigating the matter.