Couple of many faces cheated 2.5 lakh people of Rs 500 cr, say cops

Express news service Posted: Nov 13, 2012 at 0059 hrs
New Delhi Barely in their thirties, this couple from Nagpur had many faces, allegedly conned at least 2.5 lakh people of nearly Rs 500 crore, owned 94 bank accounts, had a villa in Goa and possessed several luxury sedans — till, on Saturday, their dream run ended.

Delhi Police Economic Offences Wing officers said 33-year-old Ulhas Prabhakar Khaire and 30-year-old Raksha were planning another fraud in Ratnagiri, Maharashtra, when they were arrested.

The couple pulled off their biggest fraud last year in Delhi when they lured people to invest in their company Stock Guru India, offering a 20 per cent return on an investment of more than Rs 10,000, before fleeing with their money, police said.

“Till date, as many as 14,303 complaints have been received. Our investigation revealed there were around 2.5 lakh investors,” said Sandeep Goel, Joint Commissioner of Police, Economic Offences Wing.

Police said they recovered 12 cars, including a Mercedes and a Land Cruiser, more than Rs 63 crore cash and documents of several properties they owned. Two passports on fake identities of Lokeshwar Dev and Priyanka Saraswat Dev were also reportedly seized.

“They had 94 accounts in 20 different banks across the country. We recovered papers of 12 properties, including eight flats in Dwarka, a villa in Goa and a flat each in Bhiwadi, Alwar and Moradabad,” a police official said.

The two would take on different identities while shifting from one state to another, police said, including names like Liuke Siddharth in Maharashtra, Lokeshwar in Delhi and Ulhas in Bangalore. They would allegedly contact investors through pamplets, SMS and Facebook groups, and convince them to invest with their firm, later fleeing with all the money.

In 2011, hundreds of complainants had gathered outside the office of Stock Guru India in Moti Nagar, New Delhi, demanding their arrest.

During interrogation, Ulhas revealed that in 2004, a case of cheating had been registered against him in Nagpur by his partner in a construction firm. He then fled to Pune, where he worked at a call centre and later with a finance company in Bangalore, where he met his wife and co-accused Raksha.

Police said the two started cheating banks by splurging money on credit cards taken on false identities.

For his passport, a police official said: “Ulhas had submitted the original identification documents of a man named Lokeswar Dev, whom he had cheated in Dehradun in 2009. There they had assumed the identity of Dr RK Maheswari and Dr Prachi Maheshwari and collected money from students on the false promise of providing them a diploma in physiotherapy.”

After police crackdown following the Delhi scam in 2011, they went to Goa in July that year, where they allegedly stayed under the false names of Siddharth Jai Marathe and Maya Marathe.

“Ulhas had started a share trade business in the name of JVG securities with offices in Ratnagiri and Mumbai while Raksha had started a media business,” said a police official.