Hyderabad: The Malkajgiri Special Operations Team on Thursday nabbed Soumen Banerjee from Odisha on charges of cheating people to the tune of Rs 5 crore posing as a Customs officer. He had promised them gold coins and higher interest on investments, police said.
Banerjee, a native of Kolkata, came to Medipally seven years ago and introduced himself to locals as a Customs officer posted at Visakhapatnam port. He then told them they had seized gold biscuits from passengers who were carrying them illegally.
“He offered to sell the gold at half the market rate and collected advance amounts from people. Initially, he gave them some gold coins to gain their confidence. He collected crores and cheated them later,” said Mahesh M Bhagwat, Police Commissioner, Rachakonda.
He also established groceries at Chengicherla and Marredpally and by borrowing loans from private banks, purchased villas and automobiles as well. He asked people to invest money in his businesses for which he promised to pay good interest. He paid them initially but later duped them after collecting several lakhs from them.
“To gain the confidence of investors, he arranged lavish parties at his house in Chengicherla, apart from arranging tours and excursion trips. He arranged air tickets and luxurious accommodation too,” Bhagwat said
He also gifted expensive mobiles phones to his investors with an intention for wide publicity of his activities. He collected around Rs 5 crore from people and rotated the money among the investors until he went absconding in January.
Based on a complaint from the investors, the Medipally police booked a case which was subsequently taken up by the SOT. The team, which searched for him in West Bengal, Goa, Shirdi, Pune, Mumbai and Delhi, finally traced his car at the Nagpur railway station. From there, he was tracked to first Amritsar and then Bhubaneshwar, from where he was nabbed.