A 40-year-old conman, who has allegedly cheated hundreds of unsuspecting bank customers in five cities over the past decade, and his associate were arrested in northeast Delhi on Thursday.
Karan Kumar and his associate Joginder, police said, employed a complicated modus operandi based on a simple premise: capitalising on a victims’ greed, coupled with a subtle sleight of hand.
"Their victim could be anyone queuing-up to deposit money at a bank," said a senior police officer.
"The duo would simply walk over to a potential target and offer a sizable wad of (fake) currency notes in exchange for the amount that he or she was there to deposit."
Once they had their victim’s attention, Karan and Joginder would relate an enticing tale.
"They would tell the potential victim that they had stolen the bundle of notes from their employer’s safe and were desperate to wash their hands of it at the earliest," the officer said.
"The exchange would take place and the duo would flee - leaving their victim with a bundle consisting mostly of currency-note-sized paper clippings only beginning and ending with a Rs 500 note."
The duo said that they couldn’t put an exact number to the con jobs they had allegedly pulled-off at banks located across cities such as Sahibabad, Ghaziabad, Maharashtra, Delhi and Gujarat, but claimed that it must be above at least 175.
The special staff of the northeast district zeroed-in on the duo more than a month after they had claimed their latest victim: a 16-year-old resident of Mandoli, on June 29.
Ankit Kumar, Karan’s first target after he got bail from a Mumbai prison recently, was conned at the SBI Bank branch in Nand Nagari when he was approached with an offer of exchanging the Rs 33,000 that his father had told him to deposit with a wad of thousand rupee notes.
"Ankit fell for it and informed us after the bank teller told him that there were only a thousand rupees in the bundle that he had handed over to him to deposit. The rest were newspaper clippings," the officer said.