October 5, 2021 3:08:08 am
A gang of six persons, including a woman, has been arrested for allegedly cheating several persons on fraudulent assurances of giving them UAE currency at low prices in exchange of Indian currency.
Police have identified the accused as Mohammad Shaikh (30), Pakhi Suban Malik (27), Babu Phulmiya Mulla (32), Usman Ali (27), Mohammad Kamran Khan (28) and Redoi Rahim Khan (23).
They were arrested during an investigation into a complaint of cheating and robbery lodged by Shekhar Mulik (28) at the Bibvewadi police station on September 16. Mulik was travelling to UAE and wanted Dirhams. He decided to take Dirhams from the accused after being promised a low exchange rate, and arranged Indian currency worth Rs 2 lakh.
According to the complaint, when he and his driver went to the spot to collect the Dirhams, the accused snatched the money from Mulik and escaped, leaving behind a nylon bag carrying soap wrapped in newspaper and cloth.
“We investigated the phone calls between the victim and the accused. Technical analysis of the phone number used by accused revealed they were planning to cheat another person, Shubham Kadam, so we contacted him. And when the accused came to meet Kadam at Dandekar Bridge, we laid a trap and arrested six persons on September 28. Probe revealed the accused have cheated several persons to the tune of about Rs 35 lakh in at least 14 incidents in Pune. However, not all victims have lodged complaints with the police. One victim, who was cheated of Rs 60,000, approached us, so a separate FIR was lodged in this case. One more victim, who was cheated by the same gang, had lodged an FIR at Loni Kalbhor police station,” said Senior Police Inspector Sunil Zavare of Bibwewadi police station during a press conference on Monday.
Assistant Police Inspector R C Usgaonkar, the investigating officer, said they have so far recovered 750 Dirhams (worth Rs 66,000), 10 sim cards, 12 cell phones and other items from the six accused. Probe is on to identify and arrest two more persons including the kingpin, who the accused referred to as ‘Mahajan’. Police said most of the accused currently live in Hadapsar area and have been allegedly involved in criminal activities for the last few years.
Police said ‘Mahajan’, leader of the gang, used to give a few Dirhams to the co-accused whom the gang members call ‘Thaish’. Police said ‘Thaish’ looked for targets, including members of certain professions who usually travel to UAE and need Dirhams. Another accused, ‘Mistry’, called the targets or victims to particular spots where they planned to take the Indian currency and give back soap wrapped in cloth instead of Dirhams.
Another accused, ‘Balot’, was given the task of of creating confusion among victims. One more accused had the task of offering ‘help’ to the victims after the money was taken, but misguiding them instead.
Assistance sought from Military Intelligence
Police said two accused claim to be residents of Delhi, two said they hail from Bengaluru and two claimed to be from districts in West Bengal that are near the Bangladesh border. But police suspect that some of the accused are from Bangladesh and came to India by crossing the border. Senior Police Inspector Zavare said, “We have recovered Aadhaar cards and other documents from the accused, showing they are Indian citizens. But further details are being verified. Help is being taken from Military Intelligence.”
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