A diamond trader and two college students, who hail from Delhi and Haryana, were arrested after the Worli-based hotel had to return payment to the real owner of the credit card
Three youths who turned to fraud to indulge their taste for high living and expensive stays at fancy hotels, have now bought themselves a less cosy stay behind bars. The trio were arrested after they racked up a bill of Rs 4 lakh at the Four Seasons hotel and tried to pay for it using someone else’s credit card details. The police have discovered that the youths also used the same ploy at a top Juhu hotel.
During their nine-day stay at the Four Seasons Hotel in Worli, they ran up a bill of over Rs 4 lakh. File pic for representation
On Thursday, the Worli police arrested Tarun Chandraprakash Kantharia alias Siddharth Kapoor (26), Prince Deepak Dhingra alias Vijay Malhotra (21) and Vikas Vijender Singh Chikkara alias Rohan Dahich (26). Tarun is a small-time diamond merchant in Delhi, while Vikas and Prince are students in Haryana. The trio are childhood friends.
According to the police, the diamond merchant Tarun had some business in Mumbai, and the other two decided to tag along. They wanted to stay at lavish five-star hotels but didn’t want to pay for it, so they struck upon the idea of credit card fraud.
Cops said the trio did not even have a credit card, but they somehow managed to get hold of a card number. They made an online booking with this card number and sent over a photocopy of a fake driving licence with the same name – Vijay Malhotra. The name and the card belonged to a man far away in the US.
The trio then assumed their aliases and checked into the hotel on August 28. Throughout their nine-day stay, they ordered the best of dishes from the hotel menu, called for room service and air-conditioned cars for daily Mumbai darshan. By the time they checked out on September 6, they had racked up a bill of Rs 4 lakh. They asked the hotel to deduct the charges from the card used to make the booking and left.
“While leaving the hotel they gave details of the credit card that belonged to a US national. The card was registered in the name of one Vijay Malhotra, from whose account the payment was deducted. The accused had even produced a fake driving licence registered in the same name,” said Police Inspector Jayendra Sawant from Worli police station.
The fraud only came to light when the money was deducted from the account of the US national, the real Vijay, to whom the card belonged. He blocked the card and Four Seasons had to return the payment.
Sawant added, “When the US national lodged a complaint with the local police in US, Four Seasons had to return the money. The hotel staff approached us on October 5, following which we registered a case of cheating and began investigations.”
When the cops tried to track the culprits using the phone number they provided to the hotel, they learnt that the contact details were also fake. However, the police then checked data from nearby cell phone towers and traced a phone number that was almost identical to the fake number, except for one digit. Using this number, they tracked down the first accused, Prince, in Haryana. He then led them to his accomplices.
Police sources said the hotel had also shown negligence in failing to ask for the actual credit card, which would have immediately uncovered the fraud. However, the hotel remained unavailable for comment despite several attempts made by mid-day.
Not the first time
It later turned out that the accused went on to check into a different hotel in Juhu, where they used the same trick again, generating a bill of R5 lakh this time. In addition, they were also charged with robbery in Delhi, said cops.
“The accused already have a robbery case registered against them in New Delhi. They dressed well and went to these hotels in blazers and ties, so no one could suspect they were cheats,” said Vinay Kulkarni, senior police inspector of Worli Police station.