3 'rice pullers' held for duping Rs 1.5 crore

Mumbai: The Mumbai Police Crime Branch unearthed a ‘rice puller’ racket, in which a Borivli man was duped of Rs 1.54 crore by making him invest in machines that tested the quality of copper-iridium, an alloy so strongly magnetic that it could attract grains of rice from a short distance.

Police arrested three men, who are suspected to have cheated scores of investors using the modus operandi and the names of three fake companies.

Police said one of the accused would keep a close eye on people from affluent backgrounds and lure them with a 'lucrative' investment plan.

Accordingly, the complainant would be approached by one of the accused on the pretext that they were in need of investors who could pool in crores of rupees into business ventures and ‘introduce’ them to the buyer and seller, telling them that the copper-iridium alloys were worth crores of rupees and used in top-secret projects by government research agencies.

The accused would take the complainant to various sites across the country to show them demonstrations of the alloy to sell their lie.

“The accused would mix iron filings with grains of rice used for the supposed demonstration while a pot with a magnet inside it would be placed nearby. The rice particles would be pulled towards it.

The accused would then tell the victims that a single alloy could be sold for a high price. The complainant's lack of knowledge would cause him to fall for the ploy.

Moreover, the accused had presented forged documents in the name of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), supposedly certifying their company as authorised to deal in copper-iridium.

A fake website was also shown to the complainant and his friends, who too were similarly conned.

"The victims had invested Rs 1.54 crore in the business, only to realise that they had been tricked. Acting on the tip-off and following the trail of money, police arrested three men --

Yogendra Hansraj Prajapati, 58, Sayyad Babul Kabir Raizada, 51, and Pragnesh Jayantbhai Dawda alias Thakkar, 41."

The accused trio were booked under relevant sections of the IPC for cheating and were presented in the local magistrate court, which remanded them in police custody.

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