Mumbai: Cops returned fake gold to us, say Kolis

Members of the Koli community in Chembur had been duped by a man who had fled with 7 kg of gold saying he would get their ornaments to shine again; he was arrested and 4 kg gold was handed back to the Kolis, 12 of whom realised that the ornaments were fake

Two years after being duped of their gold ornaments, 67 members of the Koli community in Chembur were overjoyed when the jewellery was returned to them by the police on Wednesday. The joy turned to burning rage for 12 of them within a day, however, when they realised that the ornaments were fake.

A woman gets her jewellery back at the function
A woman gets her jewellery back at the function

In 2013, an accused identified as Uttam Malla had duped 87 Kolis on the pretext of getting their ornaments to shine again and fled with 7 kg gold and cash. In April 2014, however, he was arrested from Midnapore district in West Bengal by Unit VI of the Crime Branch, which managed to recover 4 kg of the gold.

Shows the fake bangles she got
Shows the fake bangles she got

After a long wait, a function was organised by Crime Branch (Unit VI) on Wednesday, in which 67 out of the 87 Kolis were handed over their respective ornaments by DCP Mohan Dahikar. “In September 2014, the High Court had ordered the local police to hand over the ornaments to us at the earliest, and we don’t know why they decided to keep the jewellery with themselves for so long.

On Wednesday, the cops finally decided to hand over the ornaments to us, but as soon as I felt the jewellery I had a feeling it wasn’t real. However, I decided to confirm my suspicions before complaining,” a member of the community told mid-day. Later, the Kolis gathered near RCF colony, where they stay, and, after checking with their local jeweller, 12 of them learnt that the gold wasn’t real.

“We approached the police, who were initially hesitant to accept what we were saying and started accusing us instead. They realised they were wrong on Thursday evening, however, when they checked with their jeweller,” he added.

“I had lost 7 tolas, of which they returned only 5 tolas to me, and every piece was fake. My mother had even started wearing the jewellery without realising it was fake, but after we came to know, we took everything to the cops and asked them to get us our real gold ornaments back,” said another Koli.

The 12 Kolis have reported this to the Crime Branch Unit VI office in Chembur, and say they will give the police a month’s time to fix their problem, or they will approach the court to get their original ornaments back.

Cop speak
When mid-day contacted Senior Inspector Shripath Kale, from Unit VI of Crime Branch, he said, “The Kolis have approached us with this. We are looking into the matter and the problem will be resolved
at the earliest.”

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