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Quacks promise to correct 4-year-old's eyesight, dupe father of over Rs 6 lakh

A manager’s desperation to get rid of his four-year-old daughter’s spectacles caused him to be robbed of over R6 lakh, eventually leading the police to bust a flourishing Ayurvedic drug racket in the city. Two brothers, who worked as agents and would solicit clients, have been identified as Ram and Ashok Shinde. The man who ran the shop, identified as Venkatesh Shankar Naidu (36), has also been arrested. A fourth accused is on the run. 

According to the RCF police, the complainant, Gyandendra Sharma, met Ram Shinde at a mall in Vashi, where he had gone with his family last week. Ram spotted Sharma’s four-year old bespectacled daughter and accosted him. E

xplaining that he was an Ayurvedic doctor himself, he said that he knew someone who could administer medicines to her that would cure her eye problems.

Based on his recommendation, Sharma went to Ashok’s ‘medical’ shop in Mahul, Chembur. Ashok, however, told Sharma that he had run out of medicines and asked Sharma to accompany him to a shop in Thane. He told Sharma that the medicines would cost him R7,000.

Ashok then took Sharma to Sainath Ayurvedic shop in Thane, run by Naidu. Here, Sharma was told that a superior quality of medication would be mixed for him. Not knowing what was in store, Sharma took the bait. Once the ‘medicine’ was prepared, the shopkeepers asked Sharma to cough up R5 lakh. To save face, Sharma paid R7,600 in cash and used his debit card from two different ATMs to withdraw more money.

The duping continued. The accused later visited his home, to accept three cheques worth R70,000 each. They also asked him to buy gold worth R2.22 lakh using his credit card. By the time there was no room for doubt that he had been cheated, Sharma had already coughed up a total of R6.77 lakh. He approached the JCP, who ordered a probe.

“This is a racket. Ram and Ashok would get customers to the shop owners. Naidu and his aides have been held. They have been booked for cheating and sent to police custody till August 5. Investigations are on,” said API Bharat Shendge from RCF police station.

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