Conman on the run for four years arrested at TalojaUpdated: Jan 18, 2020 00:18 IST
A 35-year-old man, who cheated at least 100 people in Navi Mumbai, Thane, Pune and Thane rural areas of more than ₹2 crore, was arrested in Taloja on Wednesday.
Yogesh Karande was on the run for the past four years.
The accused put up a fight and was caught only after a dramatic chase between the police where even a few locals joined in to help them arrest him.
Karande was wanted by the police across Maharashtra with at least 12 registered criminal cases of cheating and as many civil litigations of check-bouncing cases, according to officials at the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the Navi Mumbai crime branch.
Karande used to allegedly cheat homebuyers. As per a crime branch officer, the accused set up a real estate agency and then started befriending watchmen of housing societies. He would specifically pick societies where apartments are either undergoing renovation prior to sale or of new flats nearing completion.
“He would get the apartment keys from the watchmen and show the locked flat to customers, saying it is his. He offered flats worth ₹52 lakh for around ₹37 lakh and would asked them to pay at least ₹6-7 lakh as token amount. As he offered a further discount of a couple lakhs, some customers paid him the full amount,” said Anand Shahane, assistant inspector at EOW, unit 1.
One such victim is a retired pensioner, who lost all his savings to buy a flat in Ulwe.
A few weeks ago, EOW got a tip-off that Karande had set up another real estate agency in Taloja.
On Wednesday, Shahane with two constables stood guard outside an apartment in Taloja-Phase 1 and spotted Karande with his wife. When he realised that he was surrounded by the police, he tore off his shirt and started running. “Karande started shouting that he cannot be arrested,” said Sahane.
Shahane and another constable chased him. Karande pushed Shahane. With the help of three passers-by, Karande was overpowered and arrested.
In another modus, he would go through the published auction notices of apartments and take the details of the houses and publish another advertisement claiming the house belongs to him. “Karande sweet-talked customers into purchasing the locked apartments,” said Sahane.
He was last arrested by the Pune police in 2015 but escaped. He was also arrested by Mira Road police but managed to escape, crime branch officers said.
Karande’s five accomplices have been arrested and charge-sheeted in two cases registered against them in Navi Mumbai.