Vishnu Nagar police in Dombivli have arrested a partially blind man for cheating a handicapped woman by promising her a bank loan, a government job and a government-approved PCO booth. Cops have arrested Vasai resident Prakash Gangaram Bharati, while two accomplices Siddharth Jadhav and Rajesh Shetty are still at large.
The complainant, Neeta Raj Yadav (31), a resident of Shantidoot Society in Dombivli (West), is 90 per cent handicapped.
In January, Bharati accosted her while she was standing in queue at Thane civil hospital with her mother Malati for a handicapped certificate. Bharati introduced himself as a journalist and said he could procure a bank loan of Rs 1.5 lakh for her from the government quota. He also made promises to get her a telephone booth and a job.
After convincing his victim, the accused went to Neeta’s residence the next week, and took Rs 5,000 from her. After that he met her at different locations in Dombivli, Dadar and Bhayander. During one of their meetings, Bharati introduced the other accused, Siddharth and Rajesh, as income tax agents.
After several meetings, Bharati promised Neeta a bank loan of Rs 10 lakh from the government, and demanded Rs 50,000 as ‘processing fee’ for the same.
“As I was not able to arrange for the amount, I refused to give him Rs 50,000. My mother, however, convinced me that bribes are a must for government jobs. She gave me a loan of Rs 25,000, which I then gave to Bharati. He also took Rs 1,000 from me as lawyer’s fees,” said Neeta.
Last month, he instructed Neeta to come to his Khopoli office and collect the sanction letter for the loan and the PCO stall. Neeta tried to locate the address, only to realise it was fake. She tried calling Bharati, but his phone remained switched off.
Neeta lodged a complaint with the Vishnu Nagar police station on May 30. Assistant police inspector Arun Ghadge then hatched a plot to nab the conman. On July 12, sub-inspector Vaishali Jadhav called Bharati and told him that since her sister was handicapped, she wanted a loan for her. Falling for the ruse, Bharati called Jadhav for a meeting to Dadar the very next day. On July 14 he met her again to collect documents from her. Cops nabbed him immediately.
“We have arrested Bharati under sections 420 and 34 of the IPC. The court has remanded him in police custody for one day,” confirmed Rajendra Kulkarni, senior inspector, Vishnu Nagar police station.