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Accused dupes investors to the tune of Rs 40L, claiming to find funding for smart cities initiative; over 10 people approached cops of being cheated

In a development to the casein which a conman had been extorting money on the pretext of raising capital for smart city mission projects, cops arrested the fraudster on Tuesday. Over 10 people had fallen in the trap of the man’s fraudulent claims and been collectively duped to the tune of Rs 40 lakh.

The accused, Ashok Ramchandra Sudrik, was previously residing in Dhankawadi, but had set up an office at Koregaon Park. He would meet up with people and collect money, alleging that it would help in funding his projects in collaboration with the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC).

Police said that the perpetrator named his bogus firm Baxy International Company. Sudrik made tall claims of entering into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the PMC for the smart cities mission projects. Senior police inspector Rajendra Patil, in-charge of Koregaon Park police station told Mirror, “After setting up the bogus firm, Sudrik started approaching investors in the city as well as people from out of Pune. He had some documents in his possession that he would use to coax people into giving him money.”

Using fake documents to put up a show that he was working on projects, the accused gained people’s confidence. “In order to gain confidence of the investors, Sudrik had shown them various papers which had logos of smart city projects and the documents also mentioned PMC. Soon after, they realised that the accused had disappeared with the money. He would present himself in such a way as if he has contracts with PMC to provide e-bicycles and e-cycles for the smart city project. He would ask investors to fund him for the project, for which he promised to give them handsome returns,” Patil added.

The case came to light in February, when a Daund-based investor, Dhananjay Shitole, approached the Koregaon Park police station and lodged a complaint against Sudrik. The complainant had invested a total of Rs 1.21lakh, but did not get anything in return.

“Following Shitole’s complaint, a couple of more people approached us and lodged complaints against the same accused. They claimed to have been duped with the same modus operandi. Following this, we visited the place where he was supposedly running his firm, but we couldn’t trace him. We also managed to get his residential address, but he could not be found there as well,” Patil said.

Meanwhile, cops put out an advertisement in a newspaper, appealing to people to approach them if they have been duped by the same conman. They had also asked citizens to share his information. Sub-inspector MN Pawar of Koregaon Park police station, who is investigating the case, said, “After he found out that police are tracing him, he even approached the Bombay High Court to get anticipatory bail, but failed to get any respite and we managed to nab him.”

Now, investigations are on to establish how many more people were preys to Sudrik’s fraudulent practices. Besides that, police are also probing if any other person helped Sudrik to prepare fake documents for the smart city project.

█ To gain confidence of the investors, Sudrik had shown them various papers which had logos of smart city projects and the documents also mentioned PMC

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