A resident of Muvattupuzha and his chartered accountant were reportedly abducted, and a ransom of ₹1.50 crore was allegedly collected from their families by a Tamil Nadu-based racket accused of cheating people by luring them with loans of ₹100 crore and more.
The Ernakulam Rural District Crime Branch arrested two persons in connection with the case. The arrested are Natesan, 47, and Rajesh Pandyan, 26, of Tamil Nadu.
The police suspect the two are part of the racket that might have cheated many more persons in Kerala. The modus operandi was to target potential victims outside Tamil Nadu and dupe them of crores of rupees by promising huge loans. The accused reportedly never promised loans less than ₹100 crore.
Initially, they dupe victims by reportedly collecting money in the name of ‘registration’ fee of 2%. They demand property deeds, promissory notes, and cheque towards registration. They also flashed a dubious demand draft for ₹100 crore to convince the victims, the police said.
The racket is suspected to have contacts at a registration office in Tamil Nadu. The victims are made to sign a few documents in the name of registration. They then hand over the demand draft and collect ₹2 crore as commission before fleeing the scene, according to the police. By the time the victims realise the fraud, the accused will have already fled. Since the money given to the accused is unaccounted for, the victims often choose not to lodge a complaint.
In the instant case, the victim from Muvattupuzha was reportedly promised ₹50 crore as first instalment. When he reached the registration office in Tirunelveli, the accused flashed a demand draft for ₹50 lakh. However, the chartered accountant who accompanied the victim turned suspicious about the authenticity of the draft. Following this, the accused allegedly abducted both. They were released only after a ransom of ₹1.50 crore was collected from their families.
District Police Chief (Ernakulam Rural) Vivek Kumar had formed a special team to crack the case. The accused were tracked down after days-long operations when officials disguised themselves as merchants. When nabbed, the accused were accompanied by an armed guard.
There were also reportedly instances where the members of the racket tailed the people who went to hand over money and robbed them. If the victims turned suspicious, then the accused would reportedly resort to threats to rob them. The arrested were accused in several cases, said the police.
A team led by DySP V. Rajeev, inspector Basil Thomas, sub inspectors T.M. Soofy, Santhosh Baby, and Rajesh, assistant sub inspector Shyamkumar, and senior civil police officers Rony Augustine and Joy Cherian made the arrest.