Three members of a gang, who projected a defunct BPO firm in Aminjikarai as a supplier of wholesale goods and cheated more than 30 merchants to the tune of over Rs. 2 crore, have been arrested.

Sources with the Central Crime Branch (CCB) said the culprits had taken over a section of the BPO in the first week of February and recruited close to 60 employees, after advertising themselves as a wholesale dealer of various kinds of products. They managed to open an account with a private bank without producing valid documents. They then contacted local merchants for purchasing the goods and made payment with post-dated cheques.

From the beginning of February to mid-March, the gang received huge consignments of goods, including water pumps, plywood, electrical wires, photostat machines, computers, LCD TVs, expensive watches and sunglasses and even cans of ghee, from over 30 dealers in the city. The goods were kept in a rented godown in Tondiarpet, sources added.

“A few days before the due dates of the cheques, the culprits shifted all the goods by three lorries to Mumbai and Delhi and also sent some through couriers. They then fled the city after closing their Aminjikarai office,” said S. Arumugam, Sub Inspector of Police, CCB, who is an investigating officer of the case.

When the cheques bounced, 27 wholesale dealers who had suffered losses, lodged a complaint at the office of the Commissioner of Police, J.K. Tripathy, in Egmore. The order for a CCB probe was then ordered .

The team tracked the gang to Chandigarh, where they had started another company, with a godown in New Delhi. “We posed as dealers who planned to buy some construction material from the culprits’ firm. They bit the bait and bought two air tickets to Delhi for us but fled before we reached. But within few days, we tracked down three culprits to a house in Vile Parla, Mumbai, and arrested them,” Mr. Arumugam added.

The three men were identified as Prafulla Kumar Verma alias Pradeep Kumar (35), from Delhi, Arun Sivakumar alias Siddarth Swamy (38), from Mumbai and Kiran Kumar alias Rajinikanth (25), from Bangalore.

The gang also cheated a city-based travel agency of Rs. 2 lakh after purchasing air tickets.

The men were brought to Chennai on Sunday and remanded to custody. The CCB team has launched a search for four others, sources said.

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Petlee PeterJune 28, 2012

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