The Uttan coastal police in Bhayandar have registered an offence against a duo for allegedly cheating the local fisher-folk to the tune of more than Rs51 lakh by denying payments after purchasing a huge quantity of various species of dry fish from them.
However, none of the accused have been arrested so far. The process of filing an FIR under sections 406 (criminal breach of trust) and 420 (cheating) against the duo Jubeir Khan and Sohail Khan followed after a fisherwoman Joshwin Patil, 56, registered a complaint that she was cheated of Rs2.41 lakh.
Details of fraud
Patil was not alone; 22 other women had been duped of more than Rs49 lakh similarly. Both the accused are said to be natives of Uttar Pradesh currently staying in Pali village near Uttan. However, they are now untraceable.
In her complaint, Patil stated that the duo in an apparent bid to gain the trust of the local fisherfolk floated an agency to purchase dry fish from them and disbursed on-time payments during the initial stages. However, they stopped releasing payments, despite continuing to buy the dry fish in huge quantities by issuing acknowledgement receipts.
They even issued dud cheques and started evading the debtors. Presently, 23 women including Patil who collectively lost more than Rs51.46 lakh have come forward to register their complaints. However, the number of women cheated by the duo is said to be much higher.
The quaint fishing villages including Uttan, Pali, Dongri, Bhatte Bunder and Chowk are home to more than 800 fishing boats in the region. Curing, drying and trading of fish are the sole source of livelihood for a majority of women living in these coastal areas. The FIR was registered on January 20 and further investigations in the case were underway.