Mumbai Crime: Lured by magical mirror, bizman duped of Rs 1.54 crore

Updated: Dec 21, 2019, 09:19 IST | Samiullah Khan | Mumbai

Real estate businessman from Navi Mumbai consistently invested lakhs in antiques and a 'mirror used by NASA', between 2013 and 2014

Arrested accused Yogendra Prajapati
Arrested accused Yogendra Prajapati

A Navi Mumbai real estate businessman was duped into investing in copper iridium 'antiques' worth Rs 1.54 crore by a gang whose members posed as both, buyers and sellers. The latest antique sold to the businessman was a magical mirror that could reflect people as skeletons or 'nude'.

One of the accused, Yogendra Parjapati, 58, was held on Thursday after a joint investigation by Borivali police and Crime Branch Unit XI. The complainant, Nityanand Naidu, 58, was allegedly told that the mirror was also used by the United States' space agency, NASA.

Prajapati and Naidu met through common friends in 2013 at a hotel near Kora Kendra, Borivali. Prajapati introduced himself as the owner of a company, Avenue Antique International, which deals in acquiring, testing and selling antique items. He claimed to be working on top-secret projects which involved the government and research agencies like DRDO. He also claimed that he would provide authenticity certificates after inspections and testing which would cost R40 to R50 lakh, depending on the level of radiation.

Prajapati and his accomplices who posed as his colleagues and buyers would take Naidu to Kolkata and show him antiques. They'd perform tests on the specimen and the supposed buyers would invest in the antique. Naidu, believing the transaction to be genuine, would pitch in too.

According to the scheme, after the acquisition, the antique was to be sold in the international market at a higher price and the profits were to be shared among all buyers.

In 2014, Naidu was told of the magical mirror worth R25 lakh, the owner of which needed money and was ready to sell it for R12 lakh. At a hotel in Kolkata, an 'investor' offered to pitch in R5.5 lakh and Naidu agreed to pay R6.5 lakh. The mirror was later found to be fake.

In addition, according to Naidu's complaint, he paid R37 to acquire an antique along with other 'buyers', R40 lakh for testing, and a total of R70.5 lakh for travel to and stay at resorts in Kolkata during their 'business trips', which brought the total to R1.54 crore.

Naidu could not get a complaint registered as he was told that it was a civil matter until a few of months ago, when reading about a similar case busted by the Crime Branch unit XI prompted him to approach them. Police are hunting for the rest of the accused.

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