A cab driver at the Mumbai domestic airport was arrested for using sleight of hand to cheat passengers — he would ask the passenger to give him change for a Rs1,000 note; the passenger hands him two Rs500 notes; he quickly replaces them with two Rs100 notes and asks the passenger for more.
The crime came to light after one passenger, Priyank Bhala, registered a case with the police.
The driver, Manoj Gurnani, 51, and an agent who would lead passengers to him, Anand Kanyal, 41, have been arrested.The police suspect the two men have conned other passengers in the past with the same trick, but the incidents have gone unreported as the amount was small and people did not want to waste time filing cases, said sources.
According to Bhala complaint, the incident took place 10 days ago, when he landed at the airport. Bhala said Kanyal guided him to Gurnani, who rents tourist vehicles and works as a driver.
Before starting his vehicle, Gurnani asked Bhala for change for Rs1,000. “Bhala gave him two Rs500 notes but Gurnani was already holding two Rs100 notes. He made the change, convinced Bhala he had given two Rs100 notes and asked for change again,” said a police source.
It was only after getting Bhala got off the car did he realise he was been cheated. He went back to the airport to find Gurnani, and approached the police.
The Airport police showed him a photo of Gurnani, arrested earlier this year in an identical case but let out on bail. Bhala identified that the man in the photo was Gurnani. On October 24, he was traced using his address and arrested with Kanyal. The police said CCTV cameras at the airport also came in handy. He was produced before a magistrate’s court and remanded in police custody for a day.