ONGOLE: A former insurance company employee was arrested in Prakasam district on Friday for cheating a pastor to the tune of Rs 1.50 crore. Ongole sub division DSP KVVNV Prasad said the accused, Shaik Gulab Jani (former branch manager at the ICICI Prudential Life Insurance Company’s Nellore branch), deceived pastor Chinnapa Reddy, of Cheemakurthy, by instilling in him fear of I-T raids, and decamped with Rs 30 lakh cash, gold, car and property documents worth around Rs 1.5 crore.
The arrest came after the pastor lodged a Spandana petition in the district headquarters two weeks ago.
According to the police, Chinnapa Reddy had gone to the Nellore branch in May 2017 to pay the premium of his maternal uncle’s policy. There, Gulab Jani of Vedayapalem-Nellore introduced himself as the branch manager and later struck up a rapport with him. Observing the innocence of the pastor regarding financial matters, Gulab Jani hatched a plan to collect huge money from him. He told the pastor that if he opened a fixed deposit account with the ICICI Bank, then he would be eligible for good monthly interests and huge returns, and that the pastor need not submit his PAN card and I-T returns details to open the account.
Believing him, Chinappa Reddy handed over Rs 5 lakh to Jani at Chimakurthy to open a fixed deposit in his name. But, without depositing that amount in the bank, Jani used that money for his personal work and paid the interest amount promptly to the pastor for a few months.Between May 2017 and August 2018, he collected Rs 25,00,000 from the pastor for depositing them as fixed deposits. But, he never deposited those amounts in the said bank.
Later, in August 2018 Jani met the pastor in Ongole and warned him that the Income Tax department was going to arrest him for tax evasion. Then he took another Rs 19,25,000 from the pastor from August to September of 2018 on the pretext of fixing the issue with the I-T department.
Once he asked for Rs 16,00,000 to be paid to the I-T department as tax and penalty. As the pastor expressed his inability to pay the amount, Jani identified a land site in the name of the pastor at Podili town and induced him to mortgage it with the bank to get rid of the I-T problems. Later, the accused took the pastor to the Podili Registrar office and got the site that was valued at Rs one crore registered in his name. With the pressure becoming unbearable, the pastor even tried to commit suicide once, the police said.
Following the complaint lodged through Spandana two weeks ago, Cheemakurthy police registered a case. Later the accused was arrested and the police seized total Rs 1.36 crore worth of assets, which included Rs 30 lakh in cash, 200 grams of gold and signed promissory notes, from his possession.