Friend robs diamond broker of Rs 75-L gem

Accused walks away with precious stone while pretending to be searching for better network reception on phone; later surrenders at DB Marg police station

Being a diamond broker, Anubhav Tripathi could often tell a fake jewel from a real one. He wishes he could have done the same with his friends after one of them stole a precious stone worth Rs 75 lakh from him. According to the police, the accused Vrushabh Chhajed, a resident of Prabhadevi, and Tripathi, had gone to sell the diamond in Panchratna building at Opera House when Vrushabh, under the pretext of poor network reception, stepped out of the building and fled with the diamond.

Con in friend's attire: Vrushabh Chhajed (below) had accompanied
Anubhav Tripathi to Panchratna building to sell the precious stone to a
prospective buyer.
Pics/Milind Karekar

"Chhajed and I had gone to sell the diamond to a prospective buyer at Panchratna building on January 30. I had taken the diamond from another party and was supposed to sell it to a prospective buyer on the third floor. We
earn around half a per cent as commission if the sale takes place. It took me five years to gain the confidence of the party, so that they allow me to deal in precious stones on their behalf," said Tripathi.

Phoney call
While Tripathi waited at the reception, Chhajed went in to meet someone inside the buyer's office with the diamond. In a short while, he came out stating that he had to make a call, but was unable get through due to poor network reception inside the office.

"In search of better network, he first stepped out of the office and then went downstairs, while I was waiting for him at the reception. Realising that it had been a while since Chhajed had gone down, I called him. However, instead of answering my call, he messaged me stating that he would be up in five minutes," said Tripathi.

Unkept promise
Later, when Chhajed failed to turn up at the reception as per his promise, Tripathi went ahead and registered a complaint against him with the DB Marg police.

"We traced his location via his cellphone and went in search of him to Kolkata, Ranchi and Delhi. But he managed to escape every time before we could nab him," said a police officer.

"Chhajed surrendered at DCP Anil Kumbhare's office last Friday and has been telling the cops that he will only answer questions asked by Kumbhare. However, the diamond is yet to be recovered and I am unsure whether it will be in the future either," said Tripathi.

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