Mumbai Crime: Police net owner of travel firm that duped 100 of Rs 1 crore

Updated: Apr 17, 2019, 17:02 IST | Sanjeev Shivadekar

The development comes almost two months after a Borivli resident, cheated by the company, registered a complaint

Mumbai Crime: Police net owner of travel firm that duped 100 of Rs 1 crore
Mastermind Arif Sayed

A week after the Malad police arrested four people in connection with a Hyderabad-based travel firm - Elite Group of Loyalty Services - for allegedly duping more than 100 people from the city of Rs 1 crore on the pretext of providing them gym memberships and holiday packages at discounted rates along with exciting gifts, the cops have netted the most important person involved in the racket - mastermind Arif Sayed. The development comes almost two months after a Borivli resident, cheated by the company, registered a complaint.

Fifth arrest

According to the police, Sayed, owner of the firm, was arrested from Hyderabad. This is the fifth arrest in the case. Speaking to mid-day, Police Inspector Gulzarilal Phadtare, said, "We picked up Arif from Hyderabad. He has confessed to his crime." All the arrested accused have been booked for cheating and forgery. 

Police sources said that the group's modus operandi was to lure people, especially young couples, with attractive holiday packages and gym memberships. For this the victims would also pay Rs 1 lakh as membership of the scheme. The company representatives would hire a banquet hall and call people for seminars, where they would lure the victims with exciting offers and gifts.

Following a complaint filed by Borivli resident Ruchit Thosani, 28, on February 26, the Malad cops swung into action to trace the culprits. According to the complaint, he had paid R1.5 lakh to the company through credit card for a holiday package, gym membership and a gold coin.

Payment receipt a victim received from the company
Payment receipt a victim received from the company

"The representatives of the company had approached me with the offer at a mall in Mumbai on January 26. Days after I paid them the money for the facilities, I started pursuing them for the gold coin. But, the representatives said that it would take some time, as the bank with which they had a tie-up would dispatch the gift. When I checked with the bank, they said there was no such scheme and they did not have any tie-up with the firm concerned. That is when I realised that I had been cheated, Hence, I filed the police complaint," the IT professional added.

More arrests likely?

When asked whether more arrests will be made in the case, Phadtare said, "So far five people have been arrested. Investigation is on. Only after a thorough probe we can ascertain whether more people are involved in the case or not."

Axita Savla

To create awareness on such scams, a Kandivli-based lawyer Axita Savla started a Facebook page on March 17. She, however, refuses to reveal how she got to know about this particular scam. "The idea was to rope in more victims and make the case stronger. In fact, after reading my post many people came forward to file police complaints," she added. Further stating that this one was a huge racket and not limited to a particular area or city, Savla said, "Police did act swiftly, or else the culprits would have got enough time to fleece more people."

Meanwhile, Thosani urged various malls to verify the credentials of such companies before allowing them on their premises for promoting such facilities. "I agree in my case it was not the mall's responsibility. Ideally, people should not fall for such tricks. But, if malls too start taking precautionary measures and set up some standard operating procedure before allowing companies to use their premises, it will help citizens a lot," Thosani added.

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