Mumbai: The property cell of the Mumbai crime branch has arrested six people for cheating banks by mortgaging fake gold and procuring loans, cheating them to the tune of Rs 2 crore.
Police said the gang included the likes of jewellers and goldsmiths, who mortgaged imitation jewellery with gold coating. The gang has reportedly cheated 30 banks using the same modus operandi.
Crime Branch police received a complaint from a jeweller who had purchased three gold pendants from a bank auction, for Rs 1.64 lakh.
When the jeweller melted the 40 grams of gold jewellery, he got only 5.23 gm of gold from it, which is when he approached police, as well the bank from which he had purchased the gold.
According to the rules for procuring loans against gold jewellery, one must submit their PAN and Aadhaar card details and this helped police to nab the fraudsters.
The property cell arrested three jewellers, identified as Ramesh Soni, Dinesh Soni and Bimal Soni, all brothers and Anilkumar Swami, a goldsmith, who made the silver-based jewellery, coating it with gold. With the imitation jewellery in hand, Prashant Narayan and Nitu Wilyil would go to the bank and borrow a loan against the jewellery, said police.
"The gang operated in a very systematic manner. The Soni brothers were helped by Swami, who made imitation jewellery at his Bhayandar residence.
Later, he would coat that jewellery with a thin layer of gold and also put the hallmark on the jewellery to establish its purity. After that, Narayan and Nitu visited banks to get the loan," said an officer from the property cell.
"At the bank, the evaluator first checked the gold for its purity and since their jewellery was neatly coated with gold, it passed the test, following which the bank immediately disbursed their loan, which is about 70% of the value of the gold.
However, after getting the loan, they never paid the instalments, after which the bank auctioned the jewellery. Only this time, the jewellery was bought by the complainant, who approached police," said a senior police inspector of the property cell, Sunil Bajare.
The police said the gang had been in operation since the last two-three years. They have cheated several national and multi-national banks, as well as cooperative banks from Mumbai, Thane and Palghar districts.
All the six accused were arrested under Indian Penal Code (IPC) sections cheating (420) forgery (465,467) using as genuine a forged document (471) and common intention (34). They will remain in the custody of the property cell till August 1.
By SACHIN GAAD