Arfat Arif Lokhandwala (30), a former police informer, had managed to successfully extort money from policemen and others by posing as an Anti-Corruption Bureau officer; taking Rs 500 and a cellphone from a taxi driver proved to be his undoing
Just a day ahead of April Fool’s day, the Pydhonie police arrested a former police informer who had allegedly conned several cops posing as an Anti-Corruption Bureau officer, and got away with it. What’s worse, it took a taxi driver to land him in the police net.
Lokhandwala had asked the cabbie to wait, handed him a plastic bag claiming that there was Rs 30,000 in it and taken Rs 500 and his cellphone. He never came back
According to the police officials, the accused has been identified as Arfat Arif Lokhandwala (30), a resident of Bhendi Bazaar, who has 12 cases of cheating registered against him at various police stations.
Lokhandwala’s modus operandi was simple: He would pose as an ACB official, throw his weight around, and threaten to take action against his victims unless they agreed to give him money.
Officials said that the fact that he had been an informer and knew a lot about how the various branches of the Mumbai police functioned also made his officer act more believable.
Sub-Inspector Madhukar Dhutraj from Pydhonie police station said, “The accused claimed that due to the frequent crackdowns by the ACB, none of the officers that he conned could gather the courage to ask him too many questions.
He said that if any individual did question him, he would take the names of officers posted with the ACB office. Besides policemen, he has also conned several businessmen and stall owners.”
Going too far
Taking Rs 500 and a mobile handset from a taxi driver on Monday proved to be Lokhandwala’s undoing. In his statement, the complainant, Vinodkumar Mishra told the police that he was waiting near Shalimar junction in Bhendi Bazaar in his taxi when he saw Lokhandwala ordering a traffic constable to stop a taxi for him.
When the constable refused to follow his order, Lokhandwala said he was an ACB officer. “The constable then began pleading with Lokhandwala not to take action against him, and immediately called me and asked me to drop the ‘officer’ wherever he wanted to go.
Lokhandwala took me to Worli RTO and then asked to be dropped back to South Mumbai. He then asked me to wait and handed me a plastic bag, claiming that there was Rs 30,000 in it, and took Rs 500 and my cellphone,” said Mishra.
Sub-Inspector Dhutraj said, “When the accused didn’t return, the complainant went back to Shalimar junction looking for him. In the evening, he saw Lokhandwala in the area and, after chasing him for nearly a kilometre, nabbed him with the help of the locals and got him to the police station.
Senior Inspector Sunil Kavlekar from Pydhonie police station said, “There are 12 cases registered against the accused and the majority of them are with the JJ Marg and LT Marg police stations, and our police station. He has confessed to cheating police officials as well. He was arrested in the wee hours of Tuesday, so we are yet to question him thoroughly.”
Lokhandwala has been booked under Sections 420 (Cheating), 170 (personating a public servant) and 392 (robbery) of the Indian Penal Code. He has been remanded in police custody.