An unlikely visitor to Bhopal’s Khijradev village has spooked villagers yet again. Already edgy over a possible retaliatory attack by the Students’ Islamic Movement of India after some locals passed on information about the movement of the eight Islamists fugitives to the cops, who were later gunned down on October 31, villagers are apprehensive their identities could be given away to the banned outfit by a ‘chit fund’ agent who had visited the area early October.
Villagers claim the ‘chit fund’ agent had collected sensitive information about at least 45 villagers, who had invested in the scheme, and could pass on the documents to the SIMI members.
“The accused, who identified himself as Pappu, had convinced us to invest Rs 500 in the chit fund scheme and promised a lucrative return of Rs 75,000 within 30 days. He took two passport-sized photographs, photocopies of our Aadhaar cards and bank passbooks from each investor…We are afraid that he could pass on our personal information to the SIMI men,” said Meena, a local.
While villagers are yet to see any return, they are grappling with some uneasy questions and scant information about the agent.
“The accused had divided the 45 villagers into three groups of 15 each,” said Meena, unable to find a reason behind such a move.
Another resident of Khijradev village, who did not wish to disclose his identity, told HT that Pappu had just handed over his visiting card mentioning his name, two mobile phone numbers and name of a company — Moniratnam Real Pvt Ltd. “The card has no address on it…And whenever we try to contact him on any of the two numbers, he does not take our calls,” he said.
According to the villagers, the agent had taken signatures of all the investors on a stamp paper pertaining to the investment.
They say the man had defrauded some villagers in a neighbouring village and the total amount could exceed Rs 2 lakh. No police complaint has been registered in the matter yet.