If something seems too good to be true, it probably is. 18 Mumbaikars learnt this the hard way, after being cheated of several lakh rupees by three conmen masquerading as housing agents. The hustlers, one of whom claimed to be the chief promoter of a slum rehabilitation project in Ghatkopar, told the victims that they could provide them 1 BHK flats, worth about Rs 80 lakh each in the open market, for Rs 12 lakh apiece.
According to police officials Sanjay Thumre (33) and Santosh Angarak (60) provided the main accused Suresh Shankar Jadhav (40) - a resident of Bhatwadi in Ghatkopar - with probable prey. They collected advance amounts from the victims and bolted. A case was registered at Ghatkopar police station on Saturday. All the three accused are absconding.
“I met Thumre while working as a security guard and he told me that there is a building under the SRA scheme in Ghatkopar and Jadhav could provide me with a house for Rs 12 lakh. After this I went with him to Bhatwadi and met Jadhav. He showed me a flat in an upcoming building, Sanskruti Apartment,” said Rajshree Pawar, one of the victims, in her statement to cops.
As clients started pestering them for legal papers of respective flats, the three accused - with the help of an advocate - drafted a letter detailing that all the money would be returned if they failed to make available the dwellings for which they had taken initial amounts. According to the police officials, the accused have swindled 18 people of Rs 4-6 lakh each - a grand total of Rs 85 lakh.
“Only 18 people have come forward so far, but we expect more to contact us in the coming days. So, there are chances that the total sum will rise,” said a Ghatkopar police station officer. The incident came to light when the victims came to the building and enquired about the legal documents, which they should have received by then.
The accused have been booked under sections 420 (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property), 466 (forgery of record of Court or of public register, etc), 467 (forgery of valuable security), 468 (forgery for purpose of cheating), 471 (using as genuine a forged document) and 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) of the Indian Penal Code. Pleading ignorance on the scam, site supervisor Suhas Sawant said, “There are only two or three flats left on the eighth floor of the building. All the rest have been sold.”
Rs 85 Lakh
Total money looted by the conmen