Published On : Sat, Dec 5th, 2015

Mastermind of gang which had looted many hardware dealers in police dragnet

Interstate gang had targeted hardware traders of Rajasthan, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh too

master mind vinod kalyani ganeshpeth
 Careful planning, sheer intelligence and presence of mind by sleuths of Ganeshpeth Police Station helped in nabbing the mastermind of an interstate gang which used to target dealers of wholesale and retail hardware goods like cement, bricks, tiles, stones, plywood and other goods used in construction. The arrest of the mastermind and his cohorts involved in the looting spree was successfully carried out by the Ganeshpeth Police Station on November 30, 2015.

The mastermind who is no less than the ill-famed trickster Natwarlal had looted goods worth lakhs of rupees from many hardware traders of the city and other states like Rajasthan, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh in a very planned manner.

Irked by the heavy loss, a local trader had lodged a complaint with the Ganeshpeth Police Station. Some of the inputs given by the victim hardware trader paved the way for Ganeshpeth police to nab two tricksters, who are part of a bigger interstate syndicate of swindlers targeting traders from various parts of the country, including Rajasthan, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh.

The accused nabbed have been identified as Vinod Kalyani aged 26 years, Mustaque Rashid Sheikh aged 24 years and Shajid. They were allegedly involved in duping several traders, mostly dealing in hardware and building construction material, to the tune of several lakhs. Kalyani was produced before the court on Tuesday, the December 1, 2015, which granted Ganeshpeth police his custody remand till December 5, 2015. The other two accused have been remanded to police custody till December 9.

Apart from city police, cops from Indore, Rajasthan and Baroda too are said to be chasing this gang in connection with many frauds committed in their states.

The modus-operandi used to be, the gang would contact hardware traders, mainly those who dealt in Cement, Bricks, Ply-wood or Marble stones required for construction, and place a bulk order. They would also display some site where construction of some other builder is already on. They would ask the trader to deliver the goods at that site. The trader too would send the goods and once satisfied that such a big construction is on, he wouldn’t mind taking a cheque for the amount of goods supplied. One of the gang members would be at that site and would hand-over the cheque to transporter or the official from the hardware trader’s business establishment. Soon after the transporter leaves the spot, another vehicle is brought to the site and the goods are loaded onto the other vehicle and they would sell the construction material at cheaper rate to some unwitting builder who buys these goods (just because it is not only cheaper but is transported free of cost).

A complaint was filed in Lakadganj Police Station by one Hardware Trader named Dipesh Kanabar of Devdarshan Tiles. However, the culprit or the accused could not be traced and escaped arrest. Similar complaints have been lodged in several police-stations in the city. Most of the victims went to the cheques issued by the gang members. However, these cheques turned out to be stolen cheques. According to a new rule, cases of fraud or cheating (punishable under Section 420 Indian Penal Code) needs the okay from an official of the rank of Deputy Commissioner of Police. This process often delays lodging the complaint. On many occasions, the result of the victims lodging a complaint yielded no results.

However, recently a complaint was lodged in Ganeshpeth Police Station by a hardware trader. The police officials and the personnel of Ganeshpeth Police Station dived head and heels into the case and soon the address of the main culprit was found to be in Hansapuri.

The traders had also shared a mobile phone number with the cops. Following the address on which the SIM was registered, the cops managed to pick up Kalyani from his residence at Hansapuri. His arrest too was no less than a Hindi Movie flick. Sources said that whenever anyone asked for him, the family members including the mother, wife and others in the house would relate a cock and bull story. They would claim that he hasn’t been to this house for more than 5-6 months and that he must be in Rajasthan or some other state.

However, the cops who had gone to his house to apprehend him heard a human voice from the first floor. Recognizing it to be a human voice, the cops first called the Women Police Constables from the Police Station and made them move the female members present in the house and then went searching for the culprit to the first floor. There they found the accused hidden beneath 6 mattresses. He was promptly brought to the police station. The accused used to use several aliases which included Sonu Kumar, Ravi Wadwani, Om Builder or Bhavani Builders.

The cops also found a diary which the mastermind crook wrote. He used to have delusions of being very rich or of being a MLA or a Minister and of helping poor people with a lot of money.

On sustained questioning, he spilled the beans on Sheikh. A squad of Ganeshpeth police, under supervision of Deputy Commissioner of Police (Zone-3) Abhinash Kumar, picked up Sheikh from his residence at Borgaon locality for questioning.

Some traders from Tehsil, who had been duped by the gang, had managed to zero down upon Sheikh, and shared this information with Ganeshpeth police. The cops had been already searching for the gang after having received complaints earlier.

ACP Bhagat, Police Inspector Sanjay Kathad, Assistant Police Inspector Anil Taksande, Naik Police Constable Anand Wankhede, Constables Ajay Niradkar, PC Sharad Chambhare, Ashish Bahad, Anantha Garmure and WPC Urmila were part of the squad which succeeded in nabbing the culprit. Naik Police Constable Anand Wankhede who had a major role to play said there are three more accused in the gang who need to be nabbed.

Cops have so far recovered construction material worth Rs 4 lakh.