Mumbai

Police queue up for scamster’s custody

Mukesh Menon  

Police teams from three States are queuing up to seek custody of an alleged serial scamster arrested by the Thane Police earlier this month.

According to officials, the accused, Mukesh Menon, was wanted in a string of cheating cases in the Kalyan-Dombivli-Ulhasnagar belt over the last few months. Hence, the Anti Robbery Squad in Zone III, Thane started keeping an eye on banks in the belt, where the accused was known to strike between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Police teams would regularly visit all banks in the jurisdiction armed with pictures of Mr. Menon and his accomplice, Abbas Ukhani, obtained from the CCTV footage of banks where they had struck previously.

On August 30, a team led by assistant police inspector Avinash Palde, while conducting a routine check, spotted Mr. Ukhani outside a private bank in Kalyan, and spread out to keep an eye on him. A short while later, Mr. Menon, too, came out of the bank and the police team accosted them.

“The accused were getting into a Mahindra TUV when we approached and Mr. Menon, who was driving, ran over police constable Amol Gore and fled the scene. Mr. Gore spent five days in the ICU before being declared out of danger,” Mr. Palde said.

Talking of the accused’s modus operandi, the officer said the duo would visit banks and spot gullible targets, like young, semi-educated office boys withdrawing or depositing large amounts of cash for their employers, or senior citizens. The duo would strike up conversations with the targets and win their trust before hoodwinking them.

Modus operandi

“The day we tried to nab them, they had convinced an office boy, who was depositing ₹50,000 in his employer’s account, that they owed his boss ₹1.5 lakh. They told him to handover the ₹50,000 and take ₹2 lakh from them. The office boy gave them the cash, and on the pretext of fetching the money within a minute, the accused fled,” Mr. Palde said.

Following the assault on Mr. Gore, Mr. Menon was booked for attempt to murder and criminal force to deter a public servant from discharging his duty under the Indian Penal Code, and the police intensified efforts to apprehend him.

“On September 3, we traced Mr. Menon to Vasind, where he was staying under an assumed identity, and arrested him. His interrogation revealed that he had committed scores of similar offences in other States. While verifying this information, we learned that teams from the Ahmedabad and Kolkata police were also in Bhiwandi on his trail, and got in touch with them,” Mr. Palde said.

Inquiries till now have revealed that he has committed at least 50 offences of a similar nature in jurisdictions of the Mumbai, Thane, Pune, Sangli, Nashik, Dhule, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Daman police.

There are also 20 other cases of various crimes against him in Thane, Ahmedabad and Kolkata.

“The agencies concerned have initiated the process of seeking his custody and he will be handed over to them after we finish inquiries in our own cases,” an officer with the Thane Police said.

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Printable version | Feb 28, 2021 6:45:04 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/police-queue-up-for-scamsters-custody/article29434680.ece

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