The accused, identified as Puranchand Jain, would get the numbers of his prospective prey, mainly hardware wholesalers, from Just Dial and pose as a contractor, promising to pay them at the earliest. However, he would flee with booty.
Jain, a resident of Shimpoli Road in Borivli, has at least 10 cases of cheating registered with the police. He used to run an imitation jewellery business in Kalbadevi, but after incurring loses, he shut it down and got involved in cheating cases. Till now, he has cheated at least 15 people in the city of several lakhs.
The crime branch officer, who made the arrest, said Jain would call Just Dial and get the contact numbers of hardware tools and electrical appliance wholesalers. He would then get in touch with them and ask for goods worth a few lakhs urgently, claiming to need them for a site under construction. He would tell the wholesaler that he’ll send his vehicle to collect the consignment and pay by cash or cheque.
“Jain would take down the numbers of the tempo services mentioned on the vehicles. He would ask the driver to collect the consignment and drop it off at an undecided location. An accomplice would collect it and pay the driver,” a crime branch officer said, adding that Jain would then sell the goods in Palghar and Virar.
Joint commissioner of police (crime) Himanshu Roy said the operation was well-planned. “It was a very unique modus operandi.”
He was arrested after his mobile phone was traced to Rawalpada in Malad. He was arrested twice in 2011 for similar offences. His accomplice is still wanted in the case. It is learnt that he is in Rajasthan.