Taking advantage of elections, duo poses as political leaders’ fund-raisers to bamboozle the high and mighty

The Central Crime Branch (CCB) police arrested two men who had conned industrialists by getting them to cough up cash to supposedly fund election campaigns and seized Rs. 3.5 lakh from them.

The police said Malleswaram resident Ajay Upadhyay (58) and Vijayanagar resident M.S. Rajashekhar (48) used to drop the names of prominent leaders such as Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president G. Parameshwara and Deputy Chief Minister K.S. Eshwarappa to get their victims to pay up. The duo contacted at least 10 prominent industrialists in the city. In some cases Upadhyay, the prime accused, introduced himself as Prasad, personal secretary to the Deputy Chief Minister, to extort money.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (Crime) Devraj said the duo extracted Rs. 2 lakh from two groups — Samruddi Builders and Khodays. Apart from this, they had also approached Mantri Developers, Sobha Developers and industrialists Vijay Mallya and Dayanand Pai, among others.

The scam came to light when an industrialist cross-checked with the Congress office and called the police. Mr. Devraj advised him to give his (Mr. Devraj’s) number if he was contacted again.

Game on

A few days later, when the industrialist received another call, he provided the DCP’s number and said it belonged to his finance manager Rajesh, who would handle the transaction.

Ten minutes later, Mr. Devraj got a call from ‘Prasad’. He checked the caller’s identity through the Truecaller app (which traces the true identity of the caller), but the suspect had cleverly registered his name as ‘Prasad, personal secretary of Deputy Chief Minister’. The police said he had used three new SIM cards since March 15 to con people.

Mr. Devraj then said his firm would give Rs. 25 lakh if ‘Prasad’ waited for another day. However, the suspects said they could not wait and demanded the cash immediately. The officer then said he could give only Rs. 5 lakh.

The duo agreed and said it would make all arrangements to safely receive the money at Malleswaram.

CCB officials turned up with a ‘money packet’ and when the two men turned up at the designated spot, caught them red-handed. Seeing the game was up, the police said, Upadhyay created a scene saying he would approach the Karnataka State Human Rights Commission and the media. But the drama came to an end soon when the police frogmarched them to their van and arrested the two.

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