Mumbai

Over 2,000 tins of cashew nuts worth ₹2.20 crore recovered

Jumping with joy: A farmer is ecstatic on receiving a tin of cashew nuts which was recovered after the Thane Crime Branch busted a racket, on Monday.

Jumping with joy: A farmer is ecstatic on receiving a tin of cashew nuts which was recovered after the Thane Crime Branch busted a racket, on Monday.   | Photo Credit: Vibhav Birwatkar

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Accused duo fled after buying produce from farmers on credit

After an eight-month-long investigation, the Thane Police Crime Branch finally recovered over 2,000 tins of cashew nuts worth ₹2.20 crore, which had been procured by hoodwinking farmers in Kolhapur and Belgaum and sold to third parties by two businessman based in Thane.

The investigation began in November last year when 192 cashew farmers from Kolhapur filed a complaint with the Kapurbawdi police against Ashtavinayak Trading Company in Thane. The farmers said that the owners of the firm bought 1,909 tins of cashew nuts from them on credit and promised to pay them as soon as the tins were sold to traders. However, the duo disappeared without paying the farmers.

The case was handed over to the Crime Branch Unit I for investigation, and Deepak Patel (49) was arrested from his hideout in Ahmedabad in November last year. His associate, Mahesh Gyanchandani (46), was later arrested from Kutch. While interrogating the duo, the Crime Branch realised that the farmers who had filed the complaint were not the only ones who had been fooled by the accused.

A Unit I officer said, “Inquiries revealed that the accused pulled off similar rackets in Belgaum in Karnataka. We obtained the transaction details of the accused and traced the retailers to whom they had sold the tins of cashew nuts at a profit of ₹2,000 each.”

On Monday, the Crime Branch recovered 2,235 tins of cashew nuts which had been fraudulently obtained from 606 farmers in Kolhapur and Belgaum through a wide network of agents. The tins were then returned to the farmers.

Satheri Gunduguro Turiye, a farmer from Kolhapur, said, “Our faith in the police has been vindicated today. It has been eight months since they started their investigation into the racket and we never lost hope. We would have suffered severe financial losses if our produce had not been recovered.”

Thane Police Commissioner Vivek Phansalkar said, “We are humbled by the response from farmers. This is a major accomplishment by our officers and constables. I congratulate each and everyone of them.”

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Printable version | Dec 15, 2019 9:04:20 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/over-2000-tins-of-cashew-nuts-worth-220-crore-recovered/article28752801.ece

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