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'Smarty' teen swindles Rs 25 lakh from teacher

Bangalore, Sep 12, 2013, DHNS: 2:19 IST
File photo.
A teenage student reportedly swindled Rs 25 lakh from an engineering teacher, duping her into believing that he is an astrologer who will wave a magic wand and all her problems will be solved, well almost.

The suspect, Manjunath, 19, a resident of Dasarahalli and a BCom student at a well-known private college in Rajajinagar, was arrested by the Ulsoorgate police recently, following a complaint by the victim, Charumathi (name changed).

The suspect, police said, had placed advertisements in newspapers in April, soliciting clients for his “astrological” services. He had claimed to offer solutions to all problems, police said.

Frustrated at being denied the promotion for the past four years, Charumathi saw a saviour in Manjunath. She contacted him and explained her problem. Manjunath, according to police, sounded as though he knew solution to every problem. He assured Charumathi he would set everything right.

The suspect later called her up, “revealing” that her neighbours had plotted to murder her son. He also said he would simply perform a pooja and not only her son would be safe but she would also get the much-needed promotion.

Manjunath, police said further, demanded Rs 25 lakh for the pooja. He then suggested to Charumathi that she pay the sum to his “assistant”. Later, a man claiming to be Manjunath’s assistant pocketed Rs 16.40 lakh in four installments, besides 145 gm gold jewellery and two kg silver articles, police said.

The suspect had also claimed he was running a centre for destitute children. He had adopted 180 such children and was providing them free food and shelter. He also promised to use the money for their welfare.

There was, however, no communication from him thereafter. Charumathi tried to contact him but his mobile phone was switched off. She then lodged a complaint with the police.

Investigators then checked the mobile phone’s call detail records and traced Manjunath to his house. According to police, Manjunath had himself met Charumathi, posing as his own “assistant”.

Manjunath’s parents did grow suspicious about his lavish lifestyle. He, however, assured them that he won the money in cricket betting. His father and a relative are astrologers.

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