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Five students arrested for cheating shopkeepers in Mumbai

By Suraj Ojha, Mumbai
PUBLISHED ON AUG 30, 2020 02:02 AM IST

The Oshiwara police have arrested a group of five students for cheating pan shop owners from Lokhandwala Complex in Andheri. The accused, according to police, purchased cigarettes from pan shops and sent fake cash credit messages to the shop owners with the help of a bulk messaging site.

The gang had purchased cigarettes worth 77,800 and the shopkeeper received messages from his bank showing a credit in his account. He later realised he was being duped and he filed a complaint.

The arrested accused are identified as Jimit Panchal, 20, Apurv Goyal, 22, Bhavik Padiyar, 22, Sagar Gala, 24 and Nisarg Maskariya, 19.

According to the police, on August 26, a pan- shop owner from Lokhandwala Market approached them and filed a complaint against an unknown person.

He said on July 10 and 11, a young boy purchased cigarettes worth 77,800. He paid online and every time the shop owner received a message saying the amount was credited. But in August, when he visited his bank, he found those three transactions missing. He then realised that he was cheated.

He then filed a police complaint and a first information report (FIR) registered under section 420(cheating), 465 (punishment for forgery), 467 (forgery of valuable security), 471 (using as genuine a forged [document or electronic record) and 34 (common intention) of Indian Penal Code.

Police later arrested Gala from Malad. Gala revealed names of his accomplices, and the rest four were arrested by police from the same location.

“They all are college-going students and one of them is a third-year law student,” said a police officer.

Gala told police he and his friends observed that most of the pan shopkeepers have started accepting money through E-wallets and don’t check their account balance they just rely on the message which they get from the bank. Once they receive a message, they think that the amount is credited their account.

Investigation revealed that these accused were using two messaging platforms to send fake bank messages to their victims and police have written to those sites to know how many messages have been sent so far from these accused to other shopkeepers as well.

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