Crackdown on online car cartel

Written By Unknown on Kamis, 19 Juni 2014 | 22.24

MUMBAI: In a major crack down on the conmen selling online high end vehicles at throw away prices, the city crime branch on Wednesday arrested two key persons who had given their fictitious bank accounts to Nigerians to run the racket.

Acting on specific information, the property cell led by inspector Nitin Patil and Laxmikant Salunkhe laid a trap near Infinity mall in Malad and arrested Vikrant Shirodkar (29) and his associate Mehfoz Shaikh alias Guddu (26), who had given their four bank accounts to Nigerian conmen to operate for monetary benefits. Shriodkar and Guddu have been booked under various acts of cheating, forgery and breach of trust and have been sent to police custody.

Various teams have fanned in Kharghar, Panvel and Mira Road where such con Nigerians have made a hub. "The two accused used to get a certain per cent in the amount deposited and the accused also used to help Nigerians withdraw the money from the bank as soon as it was deposited," said inspector Nandkumar Gopale.

The modus operandi is simple — a well-made advertisement is placed on the online portals, offering an imported car or a motorcycle at a throw away price. When a buyer calls on the given phone number, the person on the other end identifies himself as a foreign national. "He spins a yarn, saying he had been sent to India as a project manager of a company and had imported the car or bike advertised; since he was now going back to his own country, he wanted to sell the vehicle. He then gives the caller a number, asking him to talk to his 'manager' for details," said a police officer.

The 'manager' would tell the caller that the vehicle is registered in India and a certain amount had to be paid for transfer of ownership. The advertisement carrying picture and the price of the vehicle will be so lucrative that it would be difficult for anyone to resist. The caller would be asked to deposit Rs 2-3 lakh in a certain bank account so that the transfer procedure could start. Once the amount is deposited, caller will ask to deposit another amount to clear some customs fees, registeration fees, etc., until the victim realizes that he/she has been duped.

In the fresh case the gang had allegedly duped a businessman to the tune of Rs 2.20 lakhs under the pretext of selling an Audi series luxury car for a meagre amount of Rs 14 lakh.

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