THE MUMBAI Police Crime Branch on Friday made four more arrests in the cheating and forgery complaint lodged by a senior editor of The Times of India after the company was allegedly duped of Rs 15 crore. The four arrests came a day after the Crime Branch arrested the alleged mastermind of the scam, Amit Mayekar (40) — the personal assistant of the complainant — and his brother-in-law Ameya Sawant (28). Those arrested on Friday include family members and relatives of Mayekar and Sawant. All six accused were produced before a magistrate’s court and remanded in the custody of the Crime Branch till Tuesday. In all, the police have made 28 arrests in the case so far.
A senior officer said: “Based on the interrogation of the accused, we found that Mayekar’s father Chandrakant, wife Swapna (34) were also involved in the crime. Their bank accounts had also been used to route the funds from the company to himself. In addition to them, Sawant’s wife Namrata and another aide Pradeep Navnath, who assisted the accused, have also been placed under arrest.” Prosecutor Rajendra Suryavanshi said: “We argued for police custody on the ground that Mayekar was the one who hatched the plan and we need his custody to interrogate him regarding the conspiracy. We also need to question him about the role of other accused involved in the scam.”
“After hearing both sides, the magistrate remanded the six accused in police custody till May 22,” he added. Suryavanshi added that in addition to the remand plea, the magistrate also heard the bail applications of the 20 accused, who were earlier arrested in the case and are currently in the judicial custody. “The magistrate is likely to pass the order on the bail hearing on Saturday,” said Suryavanshi.
The incident came to light after the complainant Derick D’sa, the newspaper’s Associate Executive Editor, was informed by the accounts department about suspicious invoices forwarded by Mayekar. The complainant told his editorial and accounts department to investigate it following which they learnt that the 78 people who were paid for their “contribution” to the newspaper since January 2013 had never written for any of the editions of the newspaper in the country.
The amount that was transferred to the alleged beneficiaries over four years was Rs 15.07 crore, the police said. D’sa then approached Azad Maidan police station and registered a case. The probe was transferred to the Economic Offences Wing and then later to the Criminal Intelligence Unit of the Mumbai Crime Branch. The police have registered the case under relevant sections of conspiracy, criminal breach of trust, cheating and forgery.
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