Thane: A 50-year-old man has been arrested from Maharashtra's Thane city for allegedly cheating a Delhi-based gold merchant of Rs 80 lakh, police said on Wednesday.

The accused, Vijay Ambalal Soni, was also wanted by Nagpur police in Maharashtra for allegedly siphoning off Rs 25 lakh from a private sector bank, they said.

Soni, hailing from Mehsana in Gujarat, set up a small jewellery shop in Karol Bagh area of Delhi some months back.

On October 23, 2019, he placed an order with wholesale merchant Krishnadev Khupkar for a two kg gold bar.

After taking delivery of the gold bar, Soni left his shop while telling Khupkar that he was going to a bank to transfer the money into the latter's account.

When Soni did not return, Khupkar filed a police complaint with the Karol Bagh police of being cheated of gold worth around Rs 80 lakh, Thane anti-extortion cell's (AEC) police inspector Rajkumar Kothmire said.

Khupkar also approached the Thane Police's AEC last month after he got a tip-off that Soni was to come here.

Based on the complaint, the AEC officials launched a probe and nabbed Soni from Talao Pali area here on Tuesday and booked him under IPC sections for cheating, the official said.

His modus operandi was to set up a small jewellery shop and place orders for gold with wholesale merchants, Assistant Commissioner of Police (Crime) N T Kadam said.

After winning the confidence of merchants, he used to place big orders and run away after taking delivery of gold.

The accused has been handed over to Karol Bagh police in Delhi, the official said.

He was also wanted in another case registered at Ganeshpath police station in Nagpur for allegedly siphoning off Rs 25.11 lakh from a Mumbai-based branch of a private bank through online transfer to his name, the police said.

He was also wanted in a case of cheating registered by the LT Marg police in Mumbai, they said.

The interrogation of the accused revealed that cheating and other offences were also registered against him at Boisar in neighbouring Palghar district and at Surat in Gujarat, Kadam said.

Soni was booked under Indian Penal Code Section 407 (criminal breach of trust) and 34 (common intention) by Boisar police in 2013. He was later convicted and served two-year jail term for the offence.

The accused was also booked by Varachha police in Surat under IPC Sections 420 (cheating), 406, 409 (criminal breach of trust), 120-B (criminal conspiracy) and 114 (abetting the crime). He was arrested by Gujarat police in that case and was currently out on bail.

Search was also on for Soni's two brothers who were also allegedly involved in these offences, the police said.

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