A 36-year-old man from Mahabaleshwar has been arrested for allegedly cheating people of Rs 94 lakh through various online schemes. Police said he had cheated people for years to maintain a lavish lifestyle, adding that he was educated and jobless, but his firm grasp on English made it easy for him to con people.
The man was identified as Mahesh Bhogale, whose latest scheme was to rent expensive cameras and cars and sell them. “We lodged an FIR against Bhogale who rented several cameras, cars and other white goods. He contacted people over online sites and apps. He’d go off the grid after taking the goods, switch off his mobile phone and give fake addresses,” said a senior officer, adding that he was traced through his IP address and other technical markers.
“Our team traced him in Sindhudurg where his village is and eventually in Mahabaleshwar from where he was arrested on December 22,” further said the officer, adding that he was earlier arrested in another case of cheating in 2015.
An investigating officer said, “He is wanted by the Thane economic offences wing for cheating nine people of Rs 51 lakh. He also has cheating cases registered against him in Pune and other police stations. He once sold 15 defunct laptops to people and also conned people by showing them land for sale that belonged to someone else.”
Police further said no one doubted him because he was fluent in English, but as soon as he got his hands on the money, he escaped. “He would stay in posh hotels and spend lavishly on clothes and modes of transport. He has made a living out of cheating,” further said the senior officer.
Bhogale was remanded to police custody till December 28. “We have informed other police stations where cases are registered against him; they want his custody too. We are investigating for accomplices,” added the officer.