Families lose gold, cash to fake swamis

The gang would convince their victims to conduct a special puja to address their financial and health problems.

A three-member gang took advantage of a few residents’ belief in astrology and palmistry and decamped with their gold valuables and cash on the pretext of solving health and financial problems in south Bengaluru.

The Chennammanakere Achukattu police have registered as many as three cases against the accused who targeted several families among which, police suspect, only a few have filed complaints with them.

The accused have been identified as Avinash Suresh Khanvilkar alias Guruji, Chetan Dange alias Maharaj and Rajesh Tambe.

Police said the accused paid special attention to their looks to lure their victims. Wearing long gold chains and rings, the conmen would observe people visiting temples and keep tabs on them.

Later, they would gather information about their health and their children’s education. After getting the basic information, the gang members would begin their operation. 

The accused would call the victims to a temple and catch them off-guard with the personal information in their possession. Startled by their knowledge, the victims would get convinced of their abilities and do their bidding. 

The gang would convince their victims to conduct a special puja to address their financial and health problems. Once the house visits would begin, the gang members would ask their victims to bring their old jewellery for puja purposes. To gain their trust, they would return the gold valuables after the puja.

Satisfied by their intentions, the victims would approach the accused again to seek solutions for their problems.

This time, the accused would ask them to bring all their jewellery, including chains, mangalsutras, rings and other ornaments for puja. They would also make the victims transfer money through Google Pay to their accounts for the puja. After taking all gold ornaments and money, they would switch off their mobile phones and vanish.

One of the victims, a 50-year-old resident of Kathriguppe East in Banashankari III stage, on condition of anonymity, said the gang members were partially right in what they said.

“I believed that and gave them 170 grams of gold and Rs 1.75 lakh on various occasions,” she said. Apart from her jewellery, she also gave her family members’ gold.

Suraj N, a resident of Revenue Layout in Banashankari IIIrd stage, lost 63 grams of gold jewellery and Rs 18,000 cash to the conmen.

Another victim, Karthik M, a resident of Revenue Layout, lost 292 grams of gold jewellery and Rs 50,000 in cash.

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