NEW DELHI: A 36-year-old newspaper hawker turned journalist working with a weekly newspaper was held for allegedly duping an 83-year-old retired Indian Railways employee of Rs 12 lakh on the pretext of publishing his poems through a publisher in South Africa, police said on Sunday.
The accused prepared a letter forged to appear to be from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) to make the old man believe that the parcel of poetry book and the money from the royalty was stuck in the Ministry of Finance.
The fake letter and a computer used by the accused for preparing it have been seized from the office of the weekly newspaper in Jahangirpuri, said police.
Ravindra Yadav, joint commissioner of police (crime), said the jour nalist Munna Singh was arrested after police received a cheating complaint from Gangaram Aggarwal at the PMO alleging cheating with the help of a letter issued by the PMO.
“On inquiry, the letter was found to be forged and the PMO wrote a letter to Delhi police commissioner for registration of an FIR,” said Yadav.
Singh’s interrogation, Yadav said, revealed that he had befriended the elderly man at Delhi Public Library in Chandni Chowk. When Singh came to know about Aggarwal’s interest in writing poetry, he offered him to get his poems published.
“Singh also assured Aggarwal that he would get a huge amount in return in the form of royalty. He later collected around ` 12 lakh from Aggarwal. When Aggarwal pressurized him to either get his poems published or return his money, Singh forged a letter to claim that he was getting the parcel of poetry books and royalty money cleared,” he said.
A native of Aurangabad in Bihar, Singh came to Delhi in 2002 in search of a job and started working as a newspaper hawker. In 2009, he joined a weekly newspaper but was not happy with his meagre income, police said.