Five of them were arrested on Friday by the Crime Branch of the Mumbai police. They were identified as Ezi Fanc Chinedu, 37, Ekani Philip Ekemu, 25, Efini Emeka Ujoichi alias Peter, 32, David Efeka Amuche alias John, 42, and Afezur Aziur Rehman Sayyed alias Raju, 32. The other two, Vikrant Shirodkar alias Manish Kadam and Mehfoos Sheikh, were arrested earlier.
A police officer said the businessman, Balmurgan Subbaiah Thevar, complained that he came across an advertisement for the sale of an Audi car. The 2011 model was tagged at just Rs11 lakh. (The base price of a new Audi A4 is nearly Rs30 lakh.)
So, Thevar called the contact number published in the advertisement.
"He talked to one Alex Thomas, who claimed he was employed with the British Embassy and that since he was being transferred to the US he was selling his vehicle at a low price," the police officer said.
Thomas asked Thevar to contact one Rahul Ahuja to complete the deal. But Ahuja told the man that the car had been seized by the Customs and he required to pay Rs2.15 lakh to get it released.
Thevar deposited the amount in a bank account as described by Ahuja. "He was then asked to bring the remainder money to a spot near the international airport, pay the amount and take custody of the car," the police officer said.
The businessman did as he was told, but no one turned up at the airport and there was no sign of the car. He tried to call Ahuja and Thomas, but the phones were switched off. It was then that he suspected he had been duped and he lodged a complaint with the Crime Branch.