Baba's modus operandi: 'Walk 25 steps away and don't look back'

It’s not a good time to be a godman, even a fake one. A group of three people, who targeted businessmen and duped them of their money and gold, by putting up an act of a baba with followers, have been arrested by the police last Thursday.

Conmen: (From left) Abdul Jabbar Khan, Mauseen Raza Shaikh and Julfikar Ali Shaikh

The three arrested accused have been identified as Julfikar Ali Shaikh (50), Abdul Jabbar Khan (31) and Mauseen Raza Shaikh (25).

Mauseen is from Nagpur while the other two are from Delhi. The trio came to the city to start a garments business, but when things didn’t work out, they started duping people to make money.

An officer from the Pydhonie police station said, “They wanted to start a garments business in south Mumbai. But they weren’t successful and started fooling people. Mauseen would act like a baba, whereas Julfikar and Abdul would play his followers.” According to the police, Mauseen got the idea, as he stayed adjacent to babas and self-styled godmen back home in Nagpur.

The modus operandi itself was a well-planned act. Pydhonie is largely a business area. The trio would operate in crowded places. They would observe the many businessmen in the area. They would then target a person who usually had gold and large amounts of cash in his bag.

“Mauseen would sit on the footpath dressed as a baba, and the other two, his followers, would loudly thank him for his blessings. When the target arrived nearby, the ‘followers’ would call him to seek the baba’s blessings, and buy incense sticks. The followers would then ask the target to walk 25 steps away from the baba, without looking behind. They would instill fear, saying that if the man looked behind, the baba would curse him,” added the officer. When the victim started walking away, the trio would flee from the spot with the victim’s bag, which contained large amounts of cash or gold.

The arrest was made after a constable posted at the Pydhonie police station noticed a victim walking away from the babas with two incense sticks in his hands. Sensing that the man was being conned, a team of officials followed the trio and arrested them.

The accused already have more than three cases registered against them at the same police station. They have been booked under sections 420 (cheating) and 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) of the Indian Penal Code. They have been remanded to police custody till October 5. 

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