Mumbai: 61-year-old conman robs foreigners, sends passports back
Serial conman used to target foreigners and steal their valuables under the pretext of helping them board a train; he would then return valuable documents
The Government Railway Police (GRP) have arrested a 61-year-old who would cheat foreigners and NRIs by befriending them, only to flee with their valuables. The police have till now recovered valuables of five foreigners from the accused.
Serial conman Kishore Subramanian Maddali (61) returned any documents he found in the bags of those he had robbed
The accused has been identified as Kishore Subramanian Maddali (61). Interestingly, whenever Maddali found any important documents in the victims’ bags, he would return it to them. In a case involving Saudi Arabian resident Devidasan Shivram Sonari, Maddali returned his passport.
Sonari’s bag and valuables had been stolen by Maddali when he was about to board the Mangalore Express on August 16; he had also lost his passport. But Maddali traced his address from the Saudi embassy and returned Sonari’s passport to his address in Mangalore.
“We have recovered five victims’ valuables from him and we suspect he carried out more thefts. Maddali knows Telugu, Malayalam, Tamil, English, Hindi, Kannada and Marathi. He is a BSc graduate,” said Manik Sathe, police inspector, GRP, CST.
Ruko Miga Muphija Issa (24), a resident of Nigeria who is studying in Annamalai University, Chidambaram in Tamil Nadu, got his passport back as well. Issa’s bag was stolen by Maddali on September 12 from CST station when he was about to board the Chennai Mail. The bag contained his laptop and cash of Rs 50,000.
“Maddali found his number and address from the university. He posted the passport and later also called Issa from a PCO to confirm whether he had got his passport back,” said Baban Koyle, police sub-inspector of GRP, CST. His victims were mostly NRIs from countries like Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Muscat and the UK.
Setting a trap
After several complaints, the GRP tried to nab Maddali. The cops kept watch at CST railway station for an elderly person wearing sunglasses and a cap.
On September 27, they thought they had identified Maddali, but could not be sure, as he wasn’t wearing the sunglasses and cap which he usually wore, as seen in CCTV footage. The GRP team became a little wary of catching hold of the person. Again, the person was elderly, so they wanted to be sure before nabbing him.
“We decided that we were not sure so we kept an eye on the accused for the next few days,” said Sathe. “On platform number 14, where the Mangalore Express comes, we were sitting in plainclothes keeping an eye on the accused and when he tried to flee with the victim’s bag, we caught him,” said Sathe.
But Maddali knew how to brainwash his victims. To the police’s surprise, the victim in this case, Atahur Rehman Mohammed Hussain Huga, a resident of Karnataka who has now settled in Saudi Arabia, told the cops that the bag Maddali was fleeing with could not be his own. Huga said that there might be a misunderstanding. But the police were sure so they caught hold of Maddali and registered an FIR.
Maddali lives alone, and his wife and only son live abroad. The accused hails from Andhra Pradesh, and earlier used to stay in Mumbai and work in a textile factory. He retired at 58 and his wife and son left him as he is an alcoholic.
“He does not have money to drink, so he carries out thefts. He usually targets foreigners. If he sees that a foreigner is carrying a lot of luggage and has a bag tag of some flight, he starts talking with them on some or the other pretext and later offers help, like he taking care of their baggage if they want to go to the washroom or helping them board their luggage on the train. Maddali has good command over English — this helps him befriend his victims,” said Koyle. He would run away with one of their bags; he would himself carry a small bag on his person so he could tell his victims that he was also travelling.