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Mumbai: Kandivali man dupes 90 with ‘low-cost’ Char Dham yatra

Updated on: 03 November,2023 05:02 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Samiullah Khan |

Police say he conned many from Gujarat; was caught after absconding for year-and-a-half

Mumbai: Kandivali man dupes 90 with ‘low-cost’ Char Dham yatra

Rajesh Patel, the accused

The Kandivli police have arrested a 53-year-old city travel agent from Gujarat who allegedly deceived numerous devotees whom he enticed with a low-cost Char Dham Yatra package, which comprised visits to the sacred sites of Badrinath, Dwarka, Jagannath and Rameswaram. The accused, Rajesh Patel, was apprehended on October 30 after an investigation spanning one-and-a-half years. He was reportedly running a tour and travel business, Pavans Tours, in Kandivli for several years.

According to police sources, after seeing advertisements in various newspapers, several devotees—including a 44-year-old teacher—approached Patel and booked a package for 30 people that cost Rs 10.85 lakh. They made an initial deposit of R3.52 lakh, with each individual contributing about R11,000. This transaction took place at his office in Kandivli West on March 22, 2022.

Rajesh Patel, the accused, was arrested on October 30
Rajesh Patel, the accused, was arrested on October 30

The teacher visited Patel’s office on multiple occasions and soon realised that many others who had booked the package were also feeling cheated, as Patel had absconded with their money. On April 17, 2022, when she went to the office and found it closed, she attempted to contact Patel on his mobile phone but received no response. Recognising that she had fallen victim to a scam, she promptly reported the incident to the Kandivli police station and filed her complaint on April 26, according to a police officer.

Patel had gone into hiding, and law enforcement initiated a search operation to locate him. They eventually obtained crucial information about his whereabouts and successfully apprehended him in Gujarat last week. The investigation into this case unveiled a pattern of fraudulent activity. Patel, along with his associate Alpesh Shah, had defrauded a total of 90 people out of Rs 11.27 lakh under the same pretext during the same time frame.

Alongside the Kandivli police, the Kasturba Marg police were also pursuing him. Under the guidance of DCP Ajaykumar Bansal and Senior Inspector Sandeep Vishwasrao, the former succeeded in apprehending Patel. The accused has been presented before the court for the second time and was remanded in judicial custody. An officer from the Kasturba Marg police, API Ranjit Singh, is awaiting his custody.  

Rs 3.52 L
Amount paid by 10 pilgrims

Age of accused

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