Duped actor was promised a role in a movie and an artist card for the amount; an elaborate ploy with hacked emails and a savvy impersonator did him in
A newbie actor, Karan Kamal Sharda, has filed a complaint at the Oshiwara police station against two persons for cheating him of Rs 3.5 lakh.
Karan Sharda was taken for a royal ride
The accused have been identified as Archana Sharma (27) and Gaurav Joshi (28). Sharda, in his statement to the police, said that he had been living in South Africa. After the death of his parents, he came to Mumbai in 2010 with his sister and was staying in Lokhandwala, Andheri, where his sister operated a beauty parlour.
Sharda was a stage actor with a drama troupe. He also worked in a movie called Kahani Devi, which is yet to be released. Karan's uncle, who stays in London, used to frequently come down to meet Sharda and his sister in Mumbai. In the last week of December 2014, when Sharda’s uncle was coming to Mumbai via Delhi, he met Archana Sharma on the flight.
He told her that his brother’s son, Karan Sharda, was an actor, and was looking for a role in a movie. Sharma said she would help out. After a few days, Sharda’s uncle contacted Sharma. Sharda, along with his uncle and sister, then met Archana at his sister's parlour. After a month, Sharma called Sharda and said she would introduce him to a producer-actor, Mohit Raina, who was making a film and wanted a fresh face.
Sharma made him speak to a person, whom she claimed was Raina, via conference call. Over the phone, the person identified as Raina told Sharda that he was making a film called No Entry Mein Entry, a sequel to the 2005 hit No Entry. Sharda was told that he would have to pay R3.50 lakh for an Artist Card. Sharda was told to meet Gaurav Joshi at PVR Cinema, Juhu.
According to Sharda, he paid a portion of the amount on January 24, 2015, at 11 pm. The remaining amount was paid later. After the amount was paid, both Joshi and Sharma started avoiding Sharda’s calls and kept messaging him about future dates, when they would get in touch. They also sent a few emails to Sharda from well-known producer Boney Kapoor’s email ID, which they had apparently hacked.
Sharma then repeatedly assured Sharda that she was keeping a tab on the issue and all would be well. After the calls stopped coming, Sharda approached Boney Kapoor’s office when he was told that the producer was making No Entry 2 and not No Entry Mein Entry, which was a future project. Sharda then approached the police and an FIR was registered against Sharma and Joshi.
Inspector Mrutyunjay Hiremath from Oshiwara police station told mid-day, “We called Raina and he said that he did not know Joshi and Sharma, and they were just using his name. Both Sharma and Joshi could be history-sheeters. They know each other and stay together in Juhu. Sharma acts as a casting director and Joshi helps execute the plans.
We arrested Joshi on April 2, the same day the case was registered, and Sharma was arrested on April 3. Both were arrested by laying a trap. The email ID that they had provided of Boney Kapoor also turned out to be original, but they had hacked it.”
A case has been registered against the duo under Sections 420 and 334 of the IPC, read with 66B, 43A, 67A of the IT Act. Sharda said, “I was duped because I was new to the industry and did not know how it functions. I am happy that Sharma and Joshi were caught, or they would have targeted other people as well.”
Boney Kapoor told mid-day, “Young aspirants trying to enter this industry should be cautious, lest they land in such situations. Awareness should be created about this. This matter is about money; there could be many similar cases that could be more serious. Luckily, we got to know about this incident and we have deleted the email ID which has been hacked by the accused.”