4 tamper with blank cheques, withdraw money; arrested

Mumbai: With the arrest of four persons, the Kurar police claims to have busted a gang, who duped several loan-seekers by tampering with the 'cancelled' cheques using special eraser pens and illegally withdrawing money from their bank accounts.

Police said the accused targeted victims by scanning social media and approached them, posing as a multinational bank official. Police suspect the accused duped numerous people using the same modus operandi.

A Kandivli resident, Rakesh Kumar Choubey, was duped of Rs1,00,000 after which he approached police to report the incident. Primary investigations revealed Choubey had fallen prey to a scam, and the accused had swindled Rs1,00,000 by using a cancelled blank cheque given by the complainant.

As part of the investigation, police scanned the CCTV footages of the bank to identify the accused, who had deposited the cheque. Acting on a tip-off, the cops arrested one of the accused, Gurmitha Singh Balwant Singh Gujaral (33).

Following the first arrest, other subsequent arrests were made. The other arrested are Biren Kaushik Purohit (44), Paresh Shantilal Hingu (29) and Jiger Dhirajlal Kareliya (35), DS Swami, deputy commissioner of police (zone 12) said, adding, another gangster is still at large and a probe to arrest him is on.

Shedding light on the gang's modus operandi, the DCP said one of the accused had approached Choubey in August with an offer of an educational loan for his daughter.

As part of the loan procedure, the accused took a crossed cancelled cheque from Choubey and asked him to maintain a minimum balance of Rs1,00,000 in the account till his loan is sanctioned.

Further, the accused took xeroxed copies of PAN card, Aadhaar card and residential proofs. As per the procedure, Choubey submitted the documents. However, he submitted a blank signed cheque, after which the accused wrote 'cancelled' with his pen.

A few days after taking the cheque, the accused erased the word 'cancelled' with a special eraser pen and withdrew Rs1,00,000 from the Borivali and Dahisar branches of Choubey's bank accounts.

Police also recovered special eraser pens used in the crime, along with cancelled cheques of four banks, Rs60,000 cash and documents. All the accused have a criminal background and several cases of cheating are registered against them at various police stations in Mumbai and Thane districts.

On Tuesday, the four arrested were produced in a magistrate court, which remanded them in police custody till September 13, said police.

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