Days after three men were arrested for misleading the residents of Navi Mumbai on the pretext of offering loans, four more people came forward with their complaint against the trio. Two of the defendants worked at a non-bank financial institution and had misled dozens of people using false names using their knowledge of the loan process. They had committed a similar fraud on Thane in June.
Sanpada police on Wednesday took custody of the trio: Omkar Mhatre, 35, Rohit Nagwekar, 30, and Bhalchandra Palav, 27 from the APMC police station, where they were arrested on September 2.
Since Mhatre and Nagwekar were well acquainted with the loan documentation, they allegedly devised the scheme to mislead people under the pretext of the loans.
“Previously, Nagwekar and Mhatre had misled people into a similar scam in Naupada, Thane. Naupada police arrested them in June, after which their accounts were frozen. We are collecting their financial records to track the money, ”said Keshav Dinde, assistant inspector at the Sanpada police station.
According to their modus operandi, the defendant first printed documents to look like a cooperative bank. These documents would look like loan applications printed with a random registration number to allay any suspicions. So far, the police have discovered that the men misled the residents of Navi Mumbai under the guise of two fake cooperative banks, one in Vasai and one in Dahanu.
Savita Sakpal, 42, a Sanpada resident, was trying to get a loan last year to help her children’s new business, but was unable to obtain financial assistance. In December 2019, he came across a brochure in a regional newspaper that promised quick and easy loans. The defendant printed hundreds of pamphlets and then distributed them to the newspaper vendors for them to send.
Palav and Mhatre met Sakpal and reported to work at Vasai Bank. Two of Sakpal’s friends, Sheetal Jedhe and Shobha Ghodke, also needed loans. Under the guise of collecting the processing fee, insurance fee and other documentation process for loan approval, the defendant had made the female complainants pay a total of Rs 5.34 lakh between December 2019 and April 2020.
Police said they also learned of a new complaint against them in Nerul, where some more people were cheated out of a few lakhs of rupees. Officials said they were in the process of registering the case and, after the Sanpada police finished their investigation, the defendants would be turned over to the Nerul police for further questioning.
At least two police stations in Thane District have questioned Navi Mumbai Police about the defendants after it was discovered that the men also misled residents in their jurisdiction.