Hyderabad: A man masquerading as a customs official and hailing from West Bengal duped people on the pretext of providing huge returns for investing with him in gold trading and siphoned Rs 5 crore. He was caught by Rachakonda special operations team staff. They spent two months tracking him at Bhu-baneswar in Odisha. Police recovered Rs 1 lakh from his possession and placed him under arrest on Thursday.
According to Rachakonda police commissioner Mahesh Bhag-wat, Soumen Banerjee (43), a resident of Kousalya Ganga area in Puri district of Odisha hails from Uluberia in West Bengal.
In 2013, he ran away from his village along with his wife and son after making money by cheating people and settled at Chengicherla, Medipally, Hyderabad.
He introduced himself to locals as a Customs official working at the Visakhap-atnam harbour. He claimed that customs officials had seized a huge quantity of gold coins and would provide this to them at a 50 per cent discount if anyone paid money in advance.
Soumen also gave investors some gold coins to win their confidence. Believing him, several persons gave him money, Mr Bhagwat said.
Soumen started three grocery stores at Chengicherla and Marred-pally to take loans from banks. He used the money to purchase two villas, two cars, and three bikes.
“Offering returns of about 30 per cent for investing in his business, Soumen collected around Rs 5 crore from people. He threw parties at his villas to lure the investors and arranged luxury tours for them,” said the commissioner.
On January 31, Soumen went missing. A special operations team of Malkajgiri worked on technical clues, traced his movements and followed him to West Bengal, Goa, Shirdi, Pune, Mumbai, Delhi and Nagpur but could not catch him.
“Soumen’s car was traced to the parking lot at Nagpur railway station but he was not found. When his mobile phone was tracked, his movement was seen at Amritsar, but he was not present there. Acting on a tip-off, the teams traced him to Dhouli in Bhubaneshwar where he was caught,” Mr Bhagwat said.
Police recovered several fake identity cards in his name, two Aadhaar cards, fake voter IDs, fake stamps, educational certificates and SIM cards obtained on others' names.
Soumen had 20 bank accounts and mortgaged gold with the banks. He also had two previous cases at Medipally and Kushaiguda for cheating. Police has begun investigations to get more details.