Mumbai: 18 Detective didis mount own probe to nab cheat
Everyday professionals and housewives turn sleuths, go on wild ride from Bhandup to Grant Road to nab 'money-doubling' conman
Exhausted by the never-ending wait for justice, 18 women took it upon themselves to trace the man responsible for cheating them two years ago after promising to double their investment. From homemakers to professionals, the women had given him up to Rs 25,000 each, but neither did their money double nor did they get their original investment back.
Not having gained any returns for two years, the women registered an offence with the Kanjurmarg Police in April 2019. Vandana Dhurandhar, a Bhandup resident working in a private hospital, was told by one of her friends — Meena Jadhav — about the scheme that can double her investments in a few months. Jadhav got her in touch with Mukram Mohammed Ali Ansari claiming that he invested the money in the stock markets. Dhurandhar then made a group of 12 women from her native place and five others from her neighbourhood to make the investment.
"They initially asked us to pay Rs 500 for an identity card made. After a month of the registrations, they demanded Rs 2,000 to make a surety bond," Dhurandhar told mid-day, adding, "Money was later taken on several occasions under different pretexts but not a rupee was ever returned o us." In a year, almost Rs 15,000 was extracted from each of us. "When we kept questioning Ansari about the returns, he visited Bhandup to meet us," said another investor, Madhavi Kamble. "On December 11, Ali handed over a Demand Draft of Rs 15 lakh to us, but we were told it was a fake DD when we deposited it in the bank," she added.
While the women kept questioning Ali about the DD, he never responded. After a four-month wait, they filed a complaint with the Kanjurmarg Police on April 2. The police arrested Meena Jadhav, who was collecting the money from these women on behalf of Ali in Bhandup. She, however, secured bail within 10 days.
When the women kept asking the police for updates, they told the victims to try and find the accused too. "When we heard this from the cops, we knew they wouldn't be taking much of an interest in the case as the amount we were cheated out of was considerably low individually. We then started our own investigation and found that Kamble was handing over our money to a woman in Ghatkopar named Kanika Gamre. We found her house in Ramabai Nagar after two months of filing a case," Dhurandhar explained.
The Dombivli search
Gamre had, however, shifted to Dombivli by then. "We shared her picture with our friends and relatives in Ganesh Nagar, Dombivli. Every Sunday, we would visit a particular area in Ganesh Nagar to look for Gamre," she added. After four months of such persistent efforts, the group finally traced Gamre who denied any links to the fraud. She said that she had only aided Ali in collecting the money.
Gamre was nabbed on October 14. "From her, we took the contact number of Ali's driver who directed us to Borivli. We relayed this information to some of our friends in Borivli," Deepa Balmanoru told mid-day. But Ali had gone into hiding by then. "One of us then made a fake call to him saying she wanted to invest more money. He then gave an address of a hotel in Grant Road. We raided the hotel that very night (Wednesday) around 2.30 am and dragged him to the Kanjurmarg police station," Yogita Walunj said. Ali has been booked under IPC sections 420 (cheating), 34 (common intention) and forgery. He has been remanded in police custody for five days.
Rs 3.67 lakh
The total amount the conman cheated the women of
Month a case was registered against the accused
Month the women began investing in the scheme
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