Trio promises ‘rain of cash’; may have duped 70 people
Unit 9 of Mumbai Police’s crime branch on Sunday busted a gang which duped people by assuring them that “gods would bless them with money if they perform a puja”. The gang is suspected to have duped over 70 people to the tune of ₹40 crore.
The crime branch arrested the mastermind of the gang, 35-year-old Nishwitkumar Shetty, who would convince people they will get to see a ‘rain of cash’ if they performed certain puja under his guidance to please the gods.
While a court has remanded Shetty in police custody for three days, the crime branch is looking for two of Shetty’s accomplices.
According to police, Shetty, a resident of Mira Road, who convinced people to trust him and his associates.
He used to target businessmen and persuaded them to invest money to perform ‘black magic’.
One of the victims, Venu Pillai, a real estate agent based in Versova, lost all his savings to the gang.
He also mortgaged his house and wife’s jewellery to give ₹1.2 crore to the gang.
According to Pillai, a friend had in 2018 introduced him to Shetty, who said he would make Pillai rich in three months.
Shetty asked Pillai to invest ₹10 lakh in a puja that would be conducted by a ‘guruji’ from Madhya Pradesh (one of Shetty’s accomplices). That puja would bring good fortune to Pillai and he would get at least ₹11 crore in the next three months, said Akbar Pathan, deputy commissioner of police (detection).
Over a period of time, Pillai gave the accused a total of ₹1.12 crore. When Pillai questioned Shetty why he was not getting any returns, Shetty took him to his residence and showed him a wall full of currency notes. “The accused had created a wall of notes. But, not a single one was real,” Pathan added.
When crime branch came to know about this racket, they nabbed Shetty and seized fake currency from his flat and froze his two banks accounts.
“We have booked them [Shetty and his two associates] under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code ” said Mahesh Desai, senior inspector, crime branch.