Mumbai crime: 85-year-old conman held for duping 50 seniors of cash and gold

Oct 03, 2017, 14:07 IST | Santosh Wagh

The frail old fraudster would only target fellow senior citizens, often those aged above 70 years

Baaton, baaton mein… a senior citizen from Thane got conned by an 85-year-old gambler. The Thane Nagar police have arrested Vijay Adhikari, who used to bet money on horse races, for duping over 50 people in Mumbai and surrounding areas. Adhikari had netted his latest victim in August, a 75-year-old. He sweet-talked the victim into giving him company till Mumbra, saying he had to go there to give his annual donation to a temple, and robbed the elderly man's golden chain worth Rs 55,000.

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Accused Vijay Adhikari caught on CCTV.
Accused Vijay Adhikari caught on CCTV.

On August 19, Tatyasheth Mandlik, 75, a resident of Thane, met Adhikari at Jambhli Naka. Mandlik, who was on his way home, bumped into the elderly man in the afternoon and the two struck up a conversation. During their talk, Adhikari told Mandlik that he made a donation to a temple every year and whether he (Mandlik) would accompany him this time as the amount was quite large. Mandlik, having time on his hands, agreed, and two left for Manisha Nagar in Kalwa, where Adhikari said his garment shop, where he'd kept the money, was. En route, Adhikari asked the auto driver to go till Mumbra.

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Conman Vijay Adhikari. Pic/Rajesh Gupta
Conman Vijay Adhikari. Pic/Rajesh Gupta

The two reached Mumbra police station around 4.15 pm and got down. "He told me he had to donate Rs 50,000 to the temple and was short on cash. He asked me to come with him to his shop; I didn't suspect a thing," said Mandlik. "When we got down, he asked me to hand over my gold chain to him. I asked why, but he threatened me with a knife. I got scared and gave it to him." Adhikari then went into a bylane and disappeared. Mandlik searched for him, but on not being able to find him, he lodged a complaint.

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Tracing the repeat offender
Senior inspector Mandar Dharmadhikari said, "We started scouring footage from the CCTV in the area and found a grab in which the accused could be seen clearly. On seeing it, I recalled a man I had arrested years ago having the same modus operandi."

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It turned out that Dharmadhikari, while posted as a sub-inspector at Nagpada police station in 1992, had arrested Adhikari for duping senior citizens. "I asked our men to get information on the accused from the Modus Operandi Bureau. That's how we zeroed in on him at his residence in Titwala," said Dharmadhikari, adding, "Mandlik recognised him during the identification parade, and we arrested him in the last week of September."

Victim Tatyasheth Mandlik
Victim Tatyasheth Mandlik

"Adhikari, who is unmarried, doesn't have any addiction, except betting heavy money on horse races," said Assistant Police Inspector Jayant Patil. "And to fund this, he had taken to conning senior citizens, expecting that they wouldn't hit back."

Patil added, "We are checking the records to find out if he is wanted in any more cases. He was presented in the Thane Metropolitan Court, which sent him to judicial custody."

50 Number of cases against the accused
Rs 55k Worth of the gold chain the accused took from the victim

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