The officials of Property Cell posed as health workers and went around in the Khardipada area in Diva for 15 days on the pretext of vaccine drive in order to arrest a wanted criminal who along with his accomplice duped many people by impersonation. The two Dinesh Babu Manchekar, 32 and Sudesh Mahade, 45 have total 26 cases of cheating registered against them in Mumbai and elsewhere, said police.
In March this year, the two had targeted a Chembur resident and escaped with his gold ring worth ₹ 50,000. The two claimed that the government agency was supplying ration for free due to pandemic and told the victim to remove his gold ring otherwise he won't be benefited. The two then removed his gold ring and pretended to wrap it in victim's handkerchief, by the time victim realised his mistake the two were long gone.
During investigation, the property cell officials identifed Manchekar a resident of Diva who had atleast 10 past cases of cheating and robbery registered against him. However, when they went to his address they found his house locked.
Meanwhile, they received a tip-off that Manchekar stayed somewhere in Khardipada in Diva. In order to locate him, the property cell sleuths posed as health workers started checking all the houses in locality on the pretext of COVID -19 vaccination drive.
It took almost 15 days to trace Manchekar. On Wednesday they knocked on door of a house which was opened by Manchekar's father Babu who also had a criminal record. The crime branch sleuths went there and it did not take long to realised who it was, however, they did not disclosed their identities as it was not Babu who they were after.
After locating the house, we kept our staff there in civil clothes, in the night as Dinesh arrived we nabbed him, said an officer part of the operation. Dinesh then led the police to Mahade who was later arrested from Matunga.
"Both of them have multiple past cases of cheating registered against them, this year alone they have committed many offences, atleast in four such cases they are wanted however the number could be still high," said Shashikant Pawar, senior inspector of Property Cell.