The Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the police yesterday arrested a 47-year-old man, Shantaram Betkar alias Sumit Rane, for duping several people by using the promise of low-interest loans as bait.
The police said Betkar, a Std IX dropout hailing from Diva in Thane district, cheated people by forming a fraudulent welfare organisation in the city.
“The suspect used to approach people who were in the dire need of money and used to pose as the chairman of a welfare organisation called Jankalyan Berojgar Kalyankari Sanghtana, which is a fraudulent company, having no physical office in Pune,” Koli said. “He then used to demand 4 per cent interest in advance from them, promising people that after paying the interest the loan amount would be disbursed to their account.”
The officer said that after collecting the money, Betkar would disappear, changing his SIM card so that he would not be traceable.
“Using this method, Betkar duped several people in Ratnagiri, Mumbai, Thane and Pune to the tune of crores of rupees,” Koli said.
Amit Saitwadekar, who was cheated of Rs 2.60 lakh, lodged a complaint with the Economic Offences Wing, following which a team led by Koli was formed to bring Betkar to book.
On Wednesday, Koli received information that Betkar would be arriving at a hotel in the city to meet four people from Mumbai he planned to cheat by promising them a loan of Rs 2 crore.
“We laid a trap near the hotel and, as the complainant Saitwadekar was with us, he showed us the suspect and we arrested Betkar. We also learnt that Betkar had introduced himself as Sumit Rane to the party of four people from Mumbai and was going to take Rs 6 lakh from them as the advance,” Koli said.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (Cyber and EOW) Dr Sanjay Shinde appealed to people who had been duped in a similar fashion to contact the EOW at the Police Commissionerate.