'PM's advisor' in custody in IAF officer cheating case
Serial conman Ankur alias Ankush Srivastava, who has scores of complaints registered against him for posing as an economic advisor to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and making away with lakhs of rupees, has finally been arrested in connection with a cheating case in Vishrantwadi area.
On May 8 MiD DAY had published article ‘Fake share broker dupes IAF man of Rs 41 lakh’ and on July 13, 2012 “Victim’s turn cops to arrest PM’s advisor’.
Both articles revealed how Srivastava has used various ruses to con his victims in Mumbai as well as the city. Srivastava was arrested in July this year in connection with three earlier cases and was in custody of the Mumbai police.
When officials of the Vishrantwadi police station learnt about this, they requested his custody in relation to the Rs 41 lakh cheating case filed by a squadron leader of the Indian Air Force in May 2012. Srivastava was then remanded in custody of the Vishrantwadi police on Tuesday.
In 2009, IAF officer and Vishrantwadi resident Subhash Rathi (39) responded to an advertisement placed in an English daily by a company located in Salunke Vihar going by the name of Trading India Pvt Ltd (TIPL), which was inviting investors with the promise of hefty returns.
Rathi approached the company and met Srivastava, who claimed to be the Chairperson and Managing Director (CMD) of the firm. Srivastava briefed the complainant about investment plans in the share market through his firm.
According to Inspector P B Gophane of the Vishrantwadi police station, the accused collected some documents along with a cheque of Rs 1,000 and opened a demat account in the complainant’s name.
Shrivastava told Rathi to issue the cheque in the name of Ankush, who was supposed to be his brother who was looking after that process.
“Later, the complainant began investing through the firm. In order to gain the victim’s confidence, the suspect said that TIPL had earned huge profits and offered to gift Rathi a bungalow. He also convinced Rathi to open a demat account in his wife’s name,” Gophane said.
When the promise of a bungalow failed to materialise and no returns were coming in, Rathi contacted the suspect, but he was evasive.
After realising that he was being taken for a ride, Rathi approached the Vishrantwadi police station and lodged a complaint. Gophane said that after they came to know the Navi Mumbai police had arrested the accused, they demanded his custody to stand trial in Pune.
On Tuesday, officials of the Vishrantwadi police station arrested Srivastava under Sections 419, 420 and 406 of the Indian Penal Code. “After his arrest, Shrivastava cited health reasons and told us that he was suffering from a heart condition. We sent him for a medical examination to Sassoon Hospital, where doctors confirmed his claim and asked us to admit him in the hospital,” Gophane said. He added that the accused would be produced in court as soon as he is discharged.
No stopping there
After conning Rathi, Srivastava duped Anoopam Mishra, the owner of a travel agency in Mumbai, by booking air tickets and hotels there, Pune, Ahmedabad, Delhi, Goa, Hyderabad and Shimla. He claimed to be the PM’s economic advisor and therefore needed to travel all over the country on official work. He ran up a bill of Rs 5.61 lakh, issued cheques to Mishra for the total amount, but all the cheques were dishonoured. The police said that Shrivastava later collected Rs 7 lakh from Bhupendra Patel, an agent-cum-teacher of a Belapur-based educational trust as advance for ‘managing’ to get him a bank loan of Rs 7 crore to help develop a school. This time around, he used his fake ‘PM’s economic advisor’ credentials to cheat his victim. He also duped one Shailesh Tiwary in Navi Mumbai shortly after. In July this year, Mishra, Patel and Tiwary received a tip-off that Shrivastava was returning to Pune from Delhi and rushed to the city airport and confronted him. Later, they handed the accused over to the Vashi police where he was arrested under Sections 410, 420 and 467 of the Indian Penal Code.
Shrivastava was arrested in 2010 by the Kondhawa jurisdictional police for allegedly using the Indian emblem, a beacon and a Government of India signboard on his car and passing himself off as a member of the prime minister’s economic advisory council. Shortly after he was granted bail in the case.