Masood Hussain is a conman with a difference. This 45-year old resident of Mayur Bhanj Road in Ekbalpore in south Kolkata duped police officers and did not hesitate to telephone even police commissioners. To convince his victims, he even introduced himself as a peon at the headquarters of Trinamool Congress. On Saturday his luck ran out as Madhya Pradesh police arrested him from Kolkata and took him to Bhopal.
The modus operandi was as simple and daring. He would keep a vigil on news reports from around the country to spot police officers grappling with criminal cases. He would simply tell them that he has information that can crack the case and arrest of the culprit.
But he had a rider: Money for information. The amount pocketed, Hussain would simply vanish.
Hussain did not baulk at seniority. He telephoned police commissioners, IGs, ADGs and DGPs of at least 10 states.
Two years ago, he telephoned the Mumbai Police commissioner in a fake currency case. Hussain claimed that he had vital information and offered to part with the information if the police chief sent officers to Kolkata with money.
Following the telephone conversation with the commissioner, an inspector named Kadam came to Ekbalpore. However, Kadam did not pay the Rs 20,000 as he became suspicious.
The case in which he was eventually arrested on Saturday involved the kidnapping of a girl who is a resident of Bhopal.
“A Harda police team left for Kolkata and met Hussain, who assured them of helping crack the case for Rs 50,000 as reward. Falling in Hussain’s trap, the police officers helped him to buy a smartphone worth Rs 8,000 and paid him Rs 12,000 cash in advance. He asked the police team to meet him at Howrah railway station on the next day, but he did not turn up,” said Harda police superintendent Aditya Pratap Singh.
Hussian told the cops that he had a tip-off about the girl who was kidnapped from Harda a few months ago and claimed that kidnappers were about to demand Rs 5 lakh for the girl’s release.
Kolkata Police officers told HT that they rounded up Hussain two years back when he tried to play the same trick with Mumbai police. But they did not arrest him as the money did not change hands.
“We found out that he was a fraud. He keeps notes of crimes committed in other states and would call senior police officers claiming that he has detailed information on the case. Then he would ask for money to help with information,” an officer of Kolkata Police told HT.
MP police booked him under sections related to fraud.
“We gathered details of the phone numbers from which he called us. A call analysis revealed that he uses six cell phones to call from eight different phone numbers. Most of the calls were made to senior police officers such as IG, ADG and DG in different states, including Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Gujarat, Punjab, Delhi, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Maharashtra, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. We have informed them as well,” said Singh.