Mumbai: Conman who targeted lonely citizens arrested

The police on June 16 arrested a con man, who cheated several senior citizens at Matunga and Wadala, while investigating a murder case. He had been arrested in a similar case 11 years back. The Matunga police were investigating the murder of a senior citizen when they received a tip off from a local about a man who had been asking about senior citizens staying on their own. They then arrested Sunil Pujara, who has five cases of cheating against him in two police stations. The 50-year-old is a native of Rajkot, but had been staying in a Juhu five-star for over six months.

A CCTV grab of Sunil Pujara
A CCTV grab of Sunil Pujara

Making friends
Pujara’s modus operandi involved befriending the watchmen of buildings where senior citizens reside. He would then reach out to those senior citizens whose kids stay in the USA. He would tell them that he had arrived in the city from there and that he had purchased a property in suburban Mumbai, for which he would be conducting a pooja for which gold and silver jewellery would be required. He would take it from them saying he would return it but did not do so. The police recovered CCTV footage of him from a building in Matunga where he conned a senior citizen.

“We showed him the CCTV footage and he denied it was him. But when we questioned him, he did not give satisfactory answers. He has revealed that he was in the business of diamond trading before conning people,” said an investigating officer.

“We had received four complaints that a man posing as a diamond merchant from America had been cheating senior citizens in Matunga. There is also a complaint registered against him in Wadala police station,” said Senior Police Inspector B M Kakad of the Matunga police.

Arrested after 11 years on same date
Assistant Police Inspector Uttam Mane said the investigating team found that Pujara was arrested by the Matunga police on June 16, 2005.

“He also went to Goa to play at a casino with money he earned by conning people. With his arrest, we have solved five cases in which senior citizens were conned. They lost 10 grams of gold bangles, 1 1/2 kg of gold and $400. We have recovered R3.70 lakh,” an official said.

Message to senior citizens
DCP zone IV, N Ambika said, “The senior citizens should avoid talking to strangers. We will be holding meetings with resident groups and senior citizens in the zone, to educate them about safety measures. We will also hold meetings with security staff of residential buildings to ensure senior citizens’ security.”

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