Rachakonda police arrest inter-state criminal in Odisha

Hyderabad: Rachakonda Police have unearthed a massive racket wherein a West Bengal resident has been duping people of their hard earned money by offering attractive returns.

The accused, Soumen Banerjee of Kolkata, posed himself as a customs officer and collected about Rs 5 crore from different people on the promise of selling them gold seized by his office on half the market price.

The sleuths of Malkajgiri Zone of the commissionerate tracked the racketeer with the help of Special Operation Team (SOT). Police have seized fake identity card of a customs officer, Aadhar cards, Voter ID cards, stamps, Rs 1 lakh cash and mobile phones from his possession on Thursday.

Banerjee, 43, was earlier working as a security supervisor in Uluberia district of West Bengal.

According to Mahesh Bhagwat, Rachakonda Commissioner of Police, the accused is native of Antila village, Ulubera District. In 2013, after cheating people in his own village he fled with his family. He then moved to Chengircherla village at Medipally in Hyderabad. Here he introduced himself as customs officer working at Vizag port. He lured people by saying that during raids his office has seized gold biscuits from the passengers who had no purchase bills. He convinced them that he can provide them those biscuits at 50 percent of the market rate. He asked them to pay money in advance to get gold biscuits.

Surender Reddy, Additional Commissioner of Police said, initially he provided would be buyers with gold coins to gain their confidence. Later he set up grocery shops at three places—two at Chengicherla and one at Marredpally. He obtained loans from the banks by showing the documents related to the shops. With that money he bought two houses, two cars and three two-wheelers.

People also invested money in business firms that he had formed in the meantime. He was giving them heavy returns. He arranged lavish parties at his house situated at Chengicherla to impress his clientele.  He also arranged excursion trips for his investors and put them up in luxurious hotels. At the same time he began giving away expensive mobiles as gifts to exclusive customers.
According to early estimates he has collected Rs 5 crore from the public and was rotating the money among investors.

On the morning of January 31, 2017 he gave a shock to his investors by disappearing from Hyderabad. After dilly dallying for some time the investors lodged a complaint with Medipally police station. The police registered a case against him.

The Special Operations Team started hunting for him and tracked down his Maruthi Ertiga vehicle in Dhouli area of Bhuvaneshwar, Odisha. A team rushed to the spot and caught him in an apartment in Pubasasana area of Kausalya Ganga in the city.

Naveen Kumar, Inspector SOT said on interrogation he has confessed of operating 20 accounts in different public and private sector banks Banerjee has been handed over to Medipally Police Station for further investigation.