Gang dupes Delhi councillor, 600 families over LPG scheme | Latest News Delhi - Hindustan Times
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Gang dupes Delhi councillor, 600 families over LPG scheme

Feb 27, 2024 05:22 AM IST

The Paharganj councillor did not know that the Centre’s LPG scheme that the fraudster claimed to be implementing does not include distribution of sewing machines

Fake identity cards from the ministry of rural development, forged letterheads bearing signatures of senior ministers and three to four “young officials” pushing for a registration camp for the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana – these were enough to convince the municipal councillor from central Delhi’s Paharganj to set up a camp for providing LPG connections to households and distribute sewing machines to women. Through the fake camp, the suspects duped the councillor and the public of 80,000, officials aware of the matter said on Monday.

Delhi Police officials said BJP councillor Manish Chadha was approached by a man who posed as an official from the rural development ministry. (Representational image)
Delhi Police officials said BJP councillor Manish Chadha was approached by a man who posed as an official from the rural development ministry. (Representational image)

Delhi Police officials said Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) councillor Manish Chadha was approached by a man named Aditya — officials did not share his last name — who posed as an official from the rural development ministry. He asked Chadha to set up a huge camp in the middle of Tooti Chowk in Paharganj on February 12. The camp was attended by over 600 families, and each of the family paid around 100 to 150 as the registration fee, it added.

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The fact that the whole camp was a sham came to light when the beneficiaries did not see any development, Chadha’s calls to the suspect went unanswered, and his visit to the ministry office revealed that there was no official named Aditya, they added.

Police said no arrests have been made yet.

“A man named Aditya came to me and said that he was an official working with the rural development ministry. There were some young women accompanying him. During the next two to three days, we held several meetings during which he told me that the government wanted to set up a Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana camp and all Below Poverty Line (BPL) families will get LPG connections and cylinders. Women will also get sewing machines and kits. I simply followed his orders,” said Chadha.

On February 12, Chadha and his subordinates set up the registration camp.

“Aditya and his associates came to the venue and interacted with everyone. He made false promises and cheated all of us. He took money from all the families and promised to deliver the LPG connections and sewing machines in two to three days. We waited but nothing happened. Later, I called him and he told me to wait further, but still there was no development,” he added.

A police official, who did not want to be named, said that the complainants approached the ministry office and found no official named Aditya existed.

Deputy commissioner of police (central) M Harsha Vardhan said that based on the councillor’s complaint, a first information report was registered under sections of cheating on February 22. The accused is absconding and multiple teams are working to nab him.

The Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana is a scheme under the ministry of petroleum and natural gas and does not include distribution of sewing machines.

When asked about the scheme, Chadha said he did not check the scheme “at that moment”.

Police said they are questioning the councillor and have taken all details of the accused, their ID cards and forged letters.

“The scam looks well-planned. We found that the main accused first hired young men and women and forged ID cards. He then approached Chadha and convinced him to set up the camp for BPL families. He only took 100 to 150 from each family to not raise suspicion. The suspect has now left Delhi,” said an investigator who did not want to be named.

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