Mumbai Crime: Smooth talkers take cabbie for a Rs 25k ride

The duo boasted to the taxi driver of knowing Shiv Sena chief’s personal assistant, and got him to shell out R25,000 after promising him a job as a driver for the Sena official; policemen suspect the two used this con trick on several other cab drivers

Two men who boasted of being close aides of a Shiv Sena politician to dupe a taxi driver of his hard-earned money were arrested on Saturday.

The Kalachowkie police, who apprehended them, said the two may have cheated several other taxi drivers using the same modus operandi. According to the police, the duo would pose as personal assistants of Milind Narvekar, who is a personal assistant to Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray.

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Identified as Suraj Kalav (28) and Rohit Bait (23), the duo, police said, would offer unsuspecting taxi drivers the job of being a driver for Narvekar in exchange for some money. Their fraud came to the fore after one such driver lost Rs 25,000 to them and registered a complaint with the police.

Taken for a ride
Police Sub-Inspector Umesh Rokde from Kalachowkie police station said, “A south Mumbai-based taxi driver registered a case on Saturday, alleging that he had been cheated by two people who claimed they were Milind Narvekar’s personal assistants and took Rs 25,000 from him.”

According to complainant Umesh Chavan’s statement to the police, on December 23 the accused men hailed the taxi he was driving, at Lalbaug. On the way to south Mumbai, the two men spoke of knowing high-profile leaders from the Shiv Sena, and asked him if he wished to become a driver for any of them.

“The duo alighted in south Mumbai and left their number with the driver. Chavan started dreaming big and contacted them the very next day. He asked them if he could be a driver for Milind Narvekar, to which Kalav and Bait replied in the affirmative, putting the condition that he pay them money,” added Rokde.

They took Rs 10,000 from Chavan on December 23; on December 25, they managed to extract another Rs 15,000. However, when they demanded R30,000 more on Friday, Chavan sensed something amiss and consulted his friend. The latter told him he was being had, and advised him to go to the police.

The driver approached the police on Saturday, and was asked to call the duo to Bharatmata Junction in Lalbaug on the pretext of giving them the R30,000 they had asked for. Police nabbed the two men as soon as they arrived. According to the cops, the duo maintained that they had worked at Sena Bhavan before, but when police enquired of Narvekar, he instantly dismissed their tall claims.

The accused were booked under sections 420 (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property) and 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of a common intention) of the Indian Penal Code and remanded in police custody.

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