Mumbai Crime: Former auto driver arrested for duping people through chit fund in Bhandup
He later converted it into credit societies and looted them of lakhs of rupees on the pretext of doubling their money
The Bhandup police have arrested a former auto-rickshaw driver for allegedly cheating people of lakhs of rupees on the ruse of doubling their money in a year. Haroon Rashid Sheikh, 35, cooked up a plan of getting people to invest in a bhishi - chit fund. The police are looking for his associate.
"Three years back, Sheikh started a bhishi in the name of KGN Lucky Draw. Investors had to contribute Rs 1,000 every month to get Rs 30,000 once a year. After running this bhishi successfully, Haroon renamed it Sai Sharda Sahakari Patpedhi Ltd. He later also started Mount Mary Urban Sahakari Patpedhi," said a police officer.
A tempting chit fund
The investment plan that gave double returns attracted many investors from Bhandup, Kurla, even Bhiwandi. Mohammed Sadik Malik, a 45-year-old auto driver, said, "Initially when I invested, I received money back. Sheikh asked me to invest more as he was going to convert the bhishi into a credit society."
Mohammed Malik and his family invested Rs 6.50 lakh in two of Sheikh's chit funds; (right) Aruna Ghadge had invested Rs 2.40 lakh
Malik and his family invested Rs 6.50 lakh in all in Sai Sharda and Mount Mary in 2017. But they did not get any money back. "I met Sheikh and asked him to return our money. He told he would return it by August 2019, but he didn't. So we registered an FIR with Bhandup police," said Malik.
Aruna Ghadge, 45, a resident of Mulund Colony, invested Rs 2.40 lakh a year ago from her savings. "I had kept the money for hard times. As I had got money in the bhishi, I thought it would work with the other scheme, but I was proved wrong," she said. "I had saved money for my daughter's marriage. When I heard of this scheme, I was tempted to invest in it. I lost my hard earned Rs 1.50 lakh," said another investor.
Investors go to cops
Police said when cheques issued by Sheikh bounced in August 2019, investors rushed to his place in Bhandup. He assured them of returning the money on September 5. But he ran away on the night of September 4. "When some investors came to us, we registered an offence," said another police officer.
Sheikh was arrested on Tuesday and produced in court. He was remanded in police custody till September 23. "We have registered four cases till now and are expecting more people to come forward. As of now we can't evaluate the number of investors cheated. The accused has been arrested and we are looking for his associate. We urge investors to come forward and register their complaints," said DCP (Zone 7) Akhilesh Kumar Singh.
From selling biscuits to cheating
Sheikh used to sell biscuits and other food on the streets five years ago. He later started driving an auto rickshaw. He then got the idea of a bhishi which would fetch good returns. Police said after starting it, he bought land in Mumbai to set up a garage. According to sources, he and an associate also bought land elsewhere in Maharashtra. He also bought a flat in Mulund worth Rs 6 crore and paid Rs 4 crore in cash.
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