Swine flu masks have uses other than just protecting you from the deadly H1N1 virus.
Ask the Mumbai police.
Five policemen wore swine flu masks to trick the family of Rajesh Chavan, a real estate agent allegedly involved in a Rs 70 lakh cheating case, to reveal his whereabouts.
The information led to the arrest of Chavan and his four accomplices.
On August 3, Cosmos Bank informed Ramniklal Maru (43), one of the partners of Suvidha Shopping Centre at Dadar, about three “suspicious transactions” totalling Rs 70 lakh from the shop’s account.
They told Maru that a Rs 22 lakh cheque had been traced to an ICICI Bank account.
On August 7, Maru lodged a complaint with the Shivaji Park police. On police’s request, ICICI Bank provided the name and address of the account holder — Chavan.
“We got Chavan’s address from the bank and went to his place on August 11. But he was not at home,” said Sub-Inspector Shashikant Yadav.
“After enquiring with neighbours, we learnt that Chavan was going to bring an idol for Ganeshotsav. On August 23, five of us, wearing masks, went to his Nallasopara residence and introduced ourselves as his friends to his wife.”
When Chavan’s wife asked them why they were wearing masks, they told that they were taking precaution because of the swine flu scare, Yadav said.
When they asked her about Chavan, she told them that he was out of town but would return home the next day for the immersion.
On August 24, the five policemen kept a watch on Chavan’s house, and as soon as he showed up at his doorstep, they arrested him, said Assistant Police Inspector Sunil Kale.
During interrogation, Chavan reportedly confessed to the names and roles of his four accomplices.
The police said Anil Nivdekar (22) and Vilas Gamre (22), employees at the shopping centre, allegedly stole three blank cheques in 2008.
Their friends Amol Madankar (37), Sanjay Gurav (37) and Chavan deposited Rs 23 lakh, Rs 22 lakh and Rs 24.4 lakh cheques in three banks in Mumbai and Delhi, they added.
The four were also arrested.