17-yr-old steals Rs 7.5 lakh from home for chat lover

Con artist arrested after teenager's father caught her red-handed stealing money from their residence, which she was providing him to 'cover losses he had suffered in his business'
The Byculla police on Saturday evening arrested a real life Ricky Bahl for cheating a 17-year-old diamond trader's daughter of valuables and cash worth Rs 7.5 lakh. Gopal Rajan Bhasin (21) met his victim on BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) and fooled her into believing that he was in love with her. Initially, Gopal had introduced himself to the victim as a Delhi-based businessman, whose profession was to fix cricket matches.

Chat and con: The accused introduced himself as a Delhi-based
businessman and lured the teenager through chat messages

The discovery
According to the cops, the issue came to light after the victim's father, a Mazgaon-based diamond trader discovered that cash and valuables worth Rs 6,50,000 had gone missing in November, followed by an expensive Rolex watch in December from his residence.

"The diamond trader lives with his wife and two daughters: the 17-year-old, a student at Hinduja College, Charni Road and a six-year-old, a student of Christ Church School, Byculla. Other than his immediate family, his house is occupied by one of his nephews and a couple of maids," said a police officer from Byculla police station.

After the trader registered a first information report (FIR) with the Byculla police, its officials suspected involvement of his maids and interrogated them, but to no avail. Later, they picked up his nephew for questioning, but his detention failed to provide them with a breakthrough and the case reached a dead end.

Inside job
"The diamond trader got suspicious about the involvement of his eldest daughter, as she would constantly remain active on BBM. To confirm his suspicion, on January 4, he deliberately kept Rs 25,000 in one of the drawer's in his daughter's presence and on the pretext on freshening up, headed for the bathroom. Citing an opportunity, the teenager tried stealing the money, but the trader who was hiding in the bathroom caught her red-handed. It was here when he questioned his daughter about her wrongdoing, she disclosed about her relationship with Gopal," said the officer.

Tall tale
The officer added that Gopal hoodwinked the girl by stating that he had suffered heavy losses in his business and was in desperate need of money. Unable to bear her boyfriend's depression, the girl decided to help him financially. To do so, the girl started stealing money and valuables from her residence. She would either transfer the money to his bank account or Gopal would come down from Delhi to collect the valuables.

Hook, line and sinker
"We then asked the girl to call Gopal to Mumbai to collect the money she had arranged for him. A trap was laid and the accused was arrested from Byculla. He has been booked under Sections 420 (cheating) and 506 (intimidation) of the IPC," said the officer.

The police added that whatever money he made by fooling the teenager, Gopal invested it in a Delhi-based bank. The cops are now suspecting that Gopal is a serial con artist and must have cheated several others using a similar modus operandi to supplement his luxurious lifestyle.

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