A 28-year-old man with a history of allegedly posing as a police sub-inspector and conning policewomen has been arrested. Key to his capture on Monday was his latest victim, who called his bluff soon after being duped of Rs 10,000.
The accused, Milind Deshmukh, comes from a farming family in Murbad town in Palghar district. The police said Deshmukh was booked on five previous occasions in Murbad, Vashi and Rabale in Navi Mumbai, Baramati in Pune district and Ahmednagar.
On Facebook, Deshmukh allegedly posed as PSI Ganesh More. The policewoman who filed a complaint against him at Kalamboli police station in Navi Mumbai on Monday said that Deshmukh had gained a deep understanding of the working of the police department and the work and lives of police personnel from the first women he conned.
“He would send friend requests to mutual friends of policewomen. He would particularly look out for single women or women posted in different places as their husbands,” said the policewoman, who did not wish to be identified.
In order to gain the trust of his targets, she said, Deshmukh would drop names of colleagues, batch-mates and senior police officials. “Those names and his pictures in uniform on Facebook and WhatsApp had made me and many other women trust him,” she said.
Last week, after several days of exchanging text messages on Facebook Messenger and later WhatsApp, Deshmukh allegedly claimed to have lost his wallet and asked the policewomen for some money. She refused. Deshmukh allegedly contacted her the following day, claiming that he was in urgent need of money. “I gave him Rs 10,000 out of a feeling of pity,” she said. However, she grew suspicious when he kept stalling her requests to return the money.
The policewoman then contacted two other colleagues whom Deshmukh claimed to know. “Both of them said that they had given him money believing that he was a policeman,” she said. To ascertain his identity, she also gave him a test. “I asked him simple questions about police procedures, FIRs and investigations that any policeman would know. But he could not answer the questions,” she said.
On Monday, the policewoman asked Deshmukh to meet her at Kalyan railway station. “The man who arrived and claimed to be PSI Ganesh More looked nothing like the Facebook and WhatsApp profile pictures,” she said. By then, she had already tipped off the local railway police, who prevented Deshmukh from escaping. She only learnt his real name after his arrest. “The accused befriends policewomen and lures them with the promise of marrying them. Once he has gained their trust, he fakes an emergency and asks for money. He has cheated many policewomen like this. We hope more policewomen come forward with complaints,” said Satish Gaikwad, senior inspector, Kalamboli police station.
However, the complainant in this case said that the nature of their jobs would make it difficult for more of Deshmukh’s victims to step forward. “Some of the women I have spoken to fear that complaining could lead to adverse consequences at work and complications in their families,” she said.
But neither of those factors deterred her in trapping Deshmukh. “I do not understand what he gains by duping policewomen. I came forward because this had to stop somewhere,” she said.
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