The 26-yr-old man approached aspiring MPs and their well-wishers, assuring info on rivals and incriminating videos; conned MNS corporator’s husband campaigning for Bala Nandgaonkar
A Worli resident found a smart way to earn money during election time by playing to an MP candidate’s fears and anxieties. The Crime Branch arrested a man yesterday, who claims to have cheated various candidates vying for MP seats in the city and surrounding areas, by pretending to have information about their rivals. He would take money from the their supporters, and without giving the ‘information’, flee.
Ripped off: Nandgaonkar’s close aide was duped of Rs 15K. File Pic
The scam was revealed when a person close to MNS’ candidate from the Mumbai South constituency, Bala Nandgaonkar, complained to cops. The accused, identified as Karimullah Baadshah Shaikh (26), hails from Andhra Pradesh and stays at the BDD chawl.
According to cops, Shaikh would approach candidates and their supporters with the promise of providing dirt on their political rivals. He also claimed he had a video that showed the rival camp distributing money to garner votes.
Lured by a lucrative offer that could turn over voters, Sanjay Naik, the husband of MNS corporator from Byculla, Samita Naik, met Shaikh on April 4. Naik is campaigning for Bala Nandgaonkar. “I paid him the minimum amount — Rs 15,000 — for information he said he had on rival candidates, and also video footage showing rival candidates distributing money,” said Naik.
Smooth operator: Cops say Shaikh was able to con so many candidates’ supporters, as he asked for amounts between Rs10,000 to Rs 15,000
However, the ‘dope’ never came. Instead, the man fled with the money and switched off his phone. When Naik couldn’t get in touch with Shaikh, he lodged a complaint with the Kalachowkie police. The Property Cell of the Crime Branch took over investigations. Cops traced Shaikh to Dharavi and arrested him.
Cheated others too
During interrogations, Shaikh revealed he had got to other hopefuls too. Police said the accused claimed to have met supporters of Mahesh Manjrekar (Mumbai North West candidate, MNS) and taken their money. He also says he approached the offices of Arvind Sawant (Mumbai South candidate, Shiv Sena), Rahul Shewale (Mumbai South Central candidate, Shiv Sena) and Gopal Shetty (Mumbai North candidate, BJP).
Several other candidates in the fray for the Thane seat, too, have fallen for his trap, Shaikh has claimed.
“We have arrested Shaikh and handed the case to the Kalachowkie police station. The accused claims he has cheated seven candidates, and the local police will investigate into the matter,” said Sadanand Date, joint commissioner of police, Mumbai Crime Branch.
“These are his claims, but we haven’t received any complaints. We can verify these claims only after thorough investigations. Since he used to demand minimal amounts, everybody gave it to him happily,” said a police officer from the Mumbai Crime branch.
Rahul Shewale, Shiv Sena’s Mumbai South Central candidate, stated, “I have not met the accused, nor do I know him.”
BJP’s Gopal Shetty, too, denied knowing Shaikh.