Mumbai crime: Conmen replace box containing over Rs 8 lakh with shoes in auto

The conmen picked up the 60-year-old victim in a shared auto from Borivli and stole the cash while the rickshaw was in motion; Police yet to find substantial leads

In a perfect act of swindling that resembles a scene from a Hindi movie, conmen duped a 60-year-old man by replacing the box containing over Rs 8 lakh with leather shoes size 11. The entire episode occurred within minutes after Nirmal Mulchandani took a share auto from Borivli on May 25.

Nirmal Mulchandani
Nirmal Mulchandani

Speaking to mid-day, Mulchandani, Borivli resident and a clothes agent, said, “I’m speechless. I’ve being carrying lakhs of rupees daily and never once encountered such a thing in the last 40 years. On May 25, I left Kalbadevi with Rs 10.51 lakh. I gave Rs 2.28 lakh to one of my clients at Bandra station and took the next train for Borivli. Being a heart patient, I always travel in the handicapped compartment. It was 9 pm by the time the train reached its destination.”

The leather shoes the conmen left behind
The leather shoes the conmen left behind

Mulchandani added that he started walking after seeing a long queue at the auto stand. He said an auto stopped near him and the driver asked whether he wanted to go to Yogi Nagar. “It was a share auto and two passengers were already inside. I sat in the left corner of the passengers’ seat. A few metres ahead, a young and lanky fellow hopped in and sat next to the driver. Less than a minute into the ride, the driver stopped the auto and said it was struggling due to the extra weight in the front. While he requested me to let the young man sit in my lap, other co-passengers requested me to keep the bag below my feet so that everyone could sit comfortably, to which I obliged. Despite the adjustments, the vehicle kept jerking and everyone expressed displeasure.”

In spite of finding the bag lighter, Mulchandani did not bother to check it after alighting from the auto and went home. “What I found after opening the box left me speechless. Instead of money, it had leather slippers size 11. I immediately left home and took another auto hoping to find the share auto I had travelled in minutes ago. But despite my best efforts, I couldn’t find it. Dejected, I went to the Borivli police station and filed an FIR.”

Expressing disbelief at the manner in which the conmen managed to replace the cash with shoes in a moving auto, Mulchandani suspects the accused must have studied his routine before executing the crime. He added, “People should stay alert while travelling. Also, only three passengers should be allowed to board share autos.”

Cop speak
An officer from Borivli police station said, “Despite scrutinising CCTV footage and questioning over 100 auto drivers, we are yet to make a breakthrough. An FIR has been registered under IPC section 379 (theft).”

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