A Mumbai businessman, desperate to exchange old bank notes worth Rs50 lakh to make a court payment, was cheated of the money by a tea vendor and his daughter in the week after the Centre’s demonetisation move. Both the vendor and his daughter are yet to be traced.
Police officials said the accused, Jay Narayan Vyas, 65, owned a tea stall inside the Killa Court premises in Fort. The businessman, Mrutyunjay Saroj Thakur, was a regular at Vyas’ stall as his brother-in-law has been fighting a case in the court for more than two years.
Thakur told HT, “I was introduced to Vyas and we became friends as I would visit his stall every time we had a hearing. In October, our lawyer asked us to arrange for Rs50 lakh for the case. I started collecting money, asking relatives and friends.” Thakur said they had to pay a court fine of Rs2 lakh a day after the November 8 demonetisation announcement.
“The court officials refused to take old currency notes of Rs500 and Rs1,000. I told Vyas about this and he offered to help get the money exchanged the same day,” Thakur said.
Thakur told the police that Vyas had gained his trust, and he decided to ask him to help exchange the Rs50 lakh too. Thakur said Vyas claimed he knew a bank official, who would take a 30% commission for the exchange.
“I didn’t agree initially, but he kept calling me on November 12, so I finally gave him the cash at 5pm outside St Xavier’s college. Vyas asked me sit in the canteen and he caught a taxi saying he was going to exchange the notes,” Thakur said.
As Thakur waited, he came to know from a mutual friend that Vyas’ daughter Asha Sharma had left the city with the money.
“I met Vyas that night and asked him about my money. He wept and told me his daughter fled with the cash, but said that he would convince her to give the money back. I didn’t file a complaint.” Thakur, however, approached the Azad maidan police after Vyas stopped answering his calls.
“We are investigating the case thoroughly as a huge amount of money is involved. We are trying to locate the tea vendor and his daughter,” said Vijay Kadam, senior police inspector at Azad Maidan police station. A case of cheating, under section 420 of the Indian Penal Code, and other relevant sections have been registered.