A man, posing as a tantrik, claimed to solve people's hardships with the help of his Indian eagle owl. After cheating more than 500 people of lakhs of rupees in the last few years, his gang was busted and three members arrested, police said on Friday.
Gang leader Shahzad, his associates Ikram and Akbar, have been arrested while four other associates Azad, Bona, Ashu and Ida are absconding, police said.
"Shahzad would advertise on channels as Miyan Moinji Samrat and had his office in Kalkaji area of south Delhi. He duped a woman of Rs 53,100 and gold items last month on the pretext of solving her marital disputes," a police official said.
According to police, the woman was shown an owl and promised that the bird would solve all her problems when she visited Shahzad on January 4. Shahzad warned her that her husband was under an evil spell which may cause his death.
Scared by Shahzad's words, the lady paid Rs 2,100 for prayers to ward off the evil and agreed to provide R51,000, five gold coins, and some herbs again, later to be used in the ritual. Shahzad promised that all the money and jewellery would be returned once her problem is solved.
"Later when the woman said she could not come to his office, Shahzad and his associate met her near her house on February 16 and got the cash and gold, which he asked her to put in a pot as it was too pure to be touched," the official added.
Promising that her problems would be solved within three days, they left. Later, when they stopped taking her calls and heeding her request for return of the money and gold, the woman filed a police complaint.
"Shahzad was arrested on February 11 near the Delhi-Ghaziabad border in east Delhi and his associates Ikram and Akbar were caught on Wednesday from their office in Kalkaji," the official added.
The three were booked, besides for cheating, under the Wildlife Protection Act, the official said, adding, "Shahzad confessed that he and his family had been duping people over the last 15 years in Delhi and other states."