It took a mobile app to trap a conman who had made a career out of befriending owners of jewellery stores and replacing their real gold ornaments with fake ones.
Fifty-five year-old Iqram Munna Kutere was caught by an alert shopkeeper on Saturday, who identified him as the same man whose photograph he had just received on his WhatsApp -- a mobile chat application. Kutere is a resident of Uttar Pradesh.
On Friday, MiD DAY’s sister concern GUJARATI MiD DAY (GMD) had published a front page article about a conman at large who had fooled a Ghatkopar-based jeweller out of R 9 lakh worth of gold by replacing gold ornaments with fake ones.
After the con job, the store’s owner Vinod Shah put up a photograph of the accused, a video grab from his store’s CCTV footage, on WhatsApp and shared it with his contacts. As a result jewellers across suburban Mumbai were alerted about the man. One of Shah’s friends, Pravin Sanghvi, chief of Behram Baugh Jewellers Association, quickly formed a youth group to nab the accused and circulated his photograph on WhatsApp.
On Friday when Kutere first walked into Mahavir Emporium, a Goregaon-based jewellery store, the owner who had received the photograph on his phone, recognised him and alerted the youth group on SMS. But before they arrived, Kutere fled. The youth group finally caught up with the con at noon when he entered RJ Jewellers at Malwani, stating that he wanted to mortgage 540 gram gold ornaments. The shop owner, Rajesh Jain, caught him with the help of his associates and handed Kutere over to the police.
Suresh Nirmal, senior inspector, Pant Nagar police station told SMD, “We arrested Kutere on Saturday. He was produced in Vikhroli court and remanded to police custody till July 23.”