The accused had been absconding for the past few months after duping several people of an amount roughly totalling up to Rs 7 lakh. According to the police officials, the accused, identified as Ashok Murli Soni, owned a shop named Balaji Jewellers at Tulshedpada in Bhandup. An officer from Bhandup police station said, “Soni has been running a shop called Balaji for the last five years, but after cheating so many people, he escaped to Gujarat. After that an FIR was registered against the absconder.”
The modus operandi opted by the accused was to tell people he was providing them mortgage loans at a lesser interest rate than other jewellers. But he would take advantage of the borrowers’ neediness and give them sums of money way lesser in value than the weight of their yellow metal commanded. On the side, he also cheated people by telling them he would help them relieve the loans they had taken from other jewelers for a small fee. But he fled with all that money, without doing anything to pay off the people’s debts.
The police officer said, “Soni started calling people in the area, saying that he was providing gold loans at cheaper interest rates. He also told them he knew the other jewellers they had taken loans from and could ask them to mitigate their debts, and for this, he was charging people money. After he managed to accumulate a large amount, he fled the city. A case has been registered at the police station.”
Later, the police received information regarding his whereabouts and a team was dispatched to Gujarat. The officials nabbed him on December 24. As per the police, the accused has cheated people of a total of Rs 7 lakh. After his arrest, many other complainants have come forward citing that they had also been cheated by the accused. The cops they are expecting more such cases to emerge. Soni has been booked under section 420 (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property) of the Indian Penal Code, and has been remanded in police custody.