Thanks to the alertness and presence of mind shown by a 21-year-old youth, two con-artists landed into the custody of the Bhayandar police on Sunday.
The accused duo identified as Mahesh Dhanwad (32) and Deepak Mudliyar (34) posed as officials from the sanitation department of the local civic body and were found to be carrying identity cards of being contractual clean-up marshals of a nearby municipal corporation.
In his statement to the police, the complainant who works as a salesperson at a clothing store in Kashimira was on his way to buy umbrellas when he was accosted by the two men near the Union Bank of India’s branch in Bhayandar (west).
The duo asked the complainant if he was chewing tobacco and under the pretext of searching for sachets, removed Rs. 20,000 from his pocket and tried to flee on their two-wheeler. However, the complainant refused to give in and was prompted to action, by clinging on to the bike. The commotion attracted the attention of an on-duty traffic constable who immediately rushed to the spot and detained the duo for questioning.
Apart from the cash which they had forcefully taken away from the complainant, the police recovered expired identity cards of contractual clean-up marshals issued by a private agency hired by a nearby municipal corporation.
Not ruling out their involvement in more such incidents of fleecing and extorting people under the garb of collecting fines, the police have registered an offence under sections 170 ( impersonating a public servant), 419 (cheating by personation) and section 420 (cheating) of the IPC against the duo who have been remanded to custody.
Further investigations were underway.