BHUBANESWAR: In a classic example of real life imitating reel life, a gang of conmen, posing as Customs officials, duped a gold merchant of `42 lakh after being inspired by the Bollywood movie - Special 26.
The Commissionerate of Police, which arrested five members of the gang on Friday, seized half the cash, three kg of gold plated brass biscuits and a brand new car from their possession.
The accused were identified as Himansu Mohanty (39) and Batakrushna Pradhan (45), both from Cuttack district and Rabi Barik (34), Sivaram Patnaik (35) and Haribandhu Reddy (45), all from Ganjam.
During interrogation, Himansu - the mastermind of the gang - confessed that it was the Bollywood film which inspired him to commit the crime. Interestingly, he owns a bar and an automobile spare parts shop near Manguli square in Cuttack.
The matter came to light after Sambit Kumar Sahu, a small-time gold trader, lodged a complaint with Laxmi Sagar police stating that he had been duped and robbed of `42 lakh by Himansu and his accomplices.
According to police, Himansu had booked a room in a hotel room along Cuttack Road on March 25. He and his associates frequented jewellery shops in Laxmi Sagar area posing as Customs officers. During the ‘inspections’, Himansu had declared that he was in possession of three kgs of seized gold which was for sale.
Police Commissioner Dr RP Sharma said since Himansu informed that the yellow metal in shape of biscuits would be sold at half the prevailing market price, the news spread like wildfire among the traders’ community. Three days later, Sahu arrived at the hotel room offering `42 lakh for the entire stock.
However, the scamsters tricked Sahoo and fled with the money giving nothing in return. Following a complaint, the Special Squad of Commissionerate of Police launched a search and arrested the accused from Digapahandi and other parts of Ganjam district.
Another accused in the case, who acted as a middleman for the gang, is still on the run. Police are likely to seek custodial interrogation of Himansu to unearth more information, RP Sharma said.