5 Deaf Cheat Approx 550 Deaf People for Rs 4.5 crore
5 Deaf individuals have been arrested for duping 550 Deaf individuals! Watch our video for all the details.
According to Marathi newspaper Saamna, a gang of 4 people have cheated 557 deaf and Deaf blind people in a case of doubling money in 2 months has been exposed by the Pune police. According to the Pune Mirror newspaper, the proverb that looks could be deceptive has been verily proved yet again with a deaf man landing in the police net for duping not one, not two — but as many as 550 deaf people. Whether it was a feeling of kinship that the perpetrator evoked in them or he was simply a smooth operator may never be known — but what is clear is that one should never trust people based on appearances alone. Wolf in sheep’s clothing, as they say. The Pune cyber police have identified Suyog Mehta as the kingpin and told Pune Mirror that the scam is a Rs 4.5-crore multi-level chain-marketing one wherein deaf people from across the country have been conned on the promise of handsome returns.
Mehta had promised to return double their investments in forex business within 60 days. After verifying documents, the cyber police have arrested four accused — Suyog Mehta, his wife Chanchal, Abhijar Ghodnadiwala and Pradeep Kolte. All of them are deaf themselves. According to the Sakal newspaper They will remain in police custody till 18th. The woman has been kept separately.
They face FIRs under sections 420 (cheating), 406 (criminal breach of trust), 120 B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code and relevant sections of the Maharashtra Protection of Interest of Depositors Act (MPID). A complaint was lodged by Harshal Pinjan (40) of Dehu Road with the cyber police. Pinjan works as a clerk at the Dehu Road Cantonment Board and is member of an organisation called Maharashtra Association of Deaf. The accused are also members of the same organisation. According to the complaint, Ghodnadiwala met Pinjan and in August 2020, sent him videos of forex trading and explained the scheme to him in detail. He further introduced him to Suyog Mehta where Pinjan was further bombarded with information about the scheme’s benefits. Pinjal alleged that when he refused to invest money, Chanchal and the other accused gained his confidence and coaxed him to invest in the scheme. Pinjan mortgaged his wife’s gold jewellery and withdrew his investment policies and other fixed deposits. He then deposited Rs 8 lakh in Kolte’s and Chanchal’s bank accounts between October 2020 and January. He deposited the amount through cheques and online app transfers. However, the accused allegedly did not give him any returns and cheated him by misappropriating his money. Pinjan approached social activist Manisha Dharne and filed a complaint with Pune police commissioner Amitabh Gupta. Gupta formed special teams to probe the matter and led to the revelation that more than 500 deaf people had been cheated by the accused.
While investigating the case, police had to seek help from a sign-language interpreter who had been explaining the complaint of the victims. The probe revealed that people from Mumbai, Satara and Sangli have invested money in forex trade marketing through Mehta’s company. Initially, the accused accepted Rs 10,000 and returned Rs 40,000 to 50,000 thus earning the victims’ trust. It is being estimated that many more such duping cases could be uncovered. The police are speculating it may be a country-wide scam. Deputy commissioner of police Bhagyashree Navatake attached with the economic offences wing and cybercrimes said, “It took time to lodge the FIR in Pinjan’s complaint because we had to verify the documents he provided. We had to cross check the facts multiple times since the two prime accused are also hearing impaired. The case was filed only after the confirmation of their scam. We suspect a big name may be involved in the fraud and are investigating that angle as well.”Assistant police inspector Amol Kale of the cyber police station said, “It is a huge scam spread across the country and the amount involved in the crime is over Rs 4 crore. The accused would post videos of them gifting cars to the members on various messaging platform groups. They would purchase three to four cars at a time and would give it to members. These videos would convince potential investors that they would also get similar benefits after investing in the chain marketing. The interrogation is on with help of sign-language interpreters”“Suyog Mehta has undergone a special training in forex trading. Further, he prepared attractive plans giving handsome returns in two, seven and nine months of the investments — and gained the trust of victims thus. Investigations have revealed that there are many more similar conning groups. Mehta has been in the chain marketing business for the last many years. We found he had paid double returns to some people.
Victim Dhananjay Jagtap said, “I had invested Rs 30 lakh and thought the returns promised would help my business. I invested whatever savings I had. Now, the accused are not replying to my phone calls and messages.” Now Jagtap has been arrested and will remain in police custody till 20th December. Sakal Newspaper said the Public prosecutor asked for extended custody of the accused as all the accused are deaf. Investigation is going on through an interpreter hence it is taking a long time. We are yet to know the reason why the accused's aim of doing this scam? Where and how were the pamphlets of this attractive scheme made? This has to be investigated. That is why police want more custody of the accused. Vishal Kunjir, who was duped to the tune of Rs 27 lakh, said, “I am a farmer and borrowed money from a relative and withdrew my savings from the bank. The accused told me he would give double the amount in three months and triple the amount in nine months. He showed some videos in which he was interacting with some investors. He posted videos in the messaging group wherein he was gifting a car to investors. He also said if we support him, he would give gifts to all of us.”The four accused were produced in the sessions court. Advocate Pushkar Patil and Anuj Mantri representing Ghodnadiwala and Kolte said, “It is an unfortunate event that the accused is also deaf. However, just like the complainant, Kolte is also a victim since Mehta lured him. There is lack of any knowledge or proper public awareness on multi level marketing schemes. People are shown luxury payouts and videos and get trapped due to a desire for quick money. Kolte had provided essential details where the money (received in his account) was forwarded. He and others are being made scapegoats. We believe the court will indeed consider the prima facie facts which have dragged the innocent and deaf class of people into such types of bogus schemes; which even Kolte is a victim of.” According to Saamna newspaper, The police have asked other deaf or` deafblind who have been cheated in a similar way to come ahead and complain to the Pune Police’s Economic Offence wing.