To the parents’ of four students from the city, Jayesh Pithadiya and his wife Trupti seemed like the gateway to gaining admission in top city colleges.
But, that dream was shattered after Pithadiya turned out to be a cheat, duping them collectively to the tune of Rs 30 lakh.
Santacruz police arrested Pithadiya a few days ago and produced him in court on Tuesday after a complaint was registered by one of the students stating that the couple had promised him admission at a college in Bandra, and had taken money from him for the same. Till now, four victims have come forward who were similarly conned by the smooth talking Pithadiya, who, they believed, would secure them admissions and help make their dream come true.
According to the police, the accused Pithadiya along with his wife Trupti would assure students admission to any course in various colleges across the city. Pithadiya has been remanded to police custody whereas his wife Trupti is absconding, and cops are on the look out for her.
According to the first complainant, Khar resident Rajkumar Yadav (22), who runs a juice center, had completed his BMS course at a Vile Parle-based college and was looking to pursue a Masters in Business Administration (MBA). Pithadiya was a regular customer at his juice shop, and soon they got talking. Pithadiya won his confidence, assuring him admission at a top college. The amount was decided at Rs 8 lakh, but was negotiated to Rs 7.60 lakh, which was paid in three instalments in December last year.
In the month of July, Yadav introduced his friend Chandan Upadhaya to Pithadiya who also wanted to secure admission to a college. “He [Pithadiya] assured me admission at a top college in Kandivli after taking Rs 3.30 lakh,” said Upadhaya.
Soon after taking the cash, Pithadiya started ignoring Yadav and Upadhaya. Sensing something amiss, Yadav approached Pithadiya in August this year and threatened him with a criminal case. Pithadiya then gave Yadav three cheques, all of which bounced. Then under some pretext or another, Pithadiya continued to ignore the victims.
Finally, Yadav approached the Santacruz police station in October to file a complaint, but it fell on deaf ears. He approached the deputy commissioner, who directed the Santacruz cops to lodge an FIR. Police registered a cheating case against the accused on October 18, and Pithadiya was arrested six days later.
“His [Pithadiya] wife Trupti said that I am like her son, and will get me admission soon, telling me not to worry,” said Yadav.
“The amount I paid to Pithadiya was supposed to be utilised for my elder sister’s wedding. Now, her wedding has been postponed due to lack of funds because of which I feel guilty and ashamed.”
Another victim from Navi Mumbai, who did not wish to be named, said, “He duped me of Rs 15 lakh after making a false promise of providing admission to my son. He had assured me entry to an MBBS course at a college in Navi Mumbai.”
API Sunil Borude of Santacruz police station said, “The accused Pithadiya was presented at Bandra court on Tuesday, and remanded to police custody till November 3. We have searched for his wife at several places, but she is still at large. The accused have duped several students, and investigations are ongoing.”