B'luru bizmen lose Rs 5.8 cr in hope of Rs 390-cr loan

Two Bengaluru businessmen lose Rs 5.8 crore in hope of a Rs 390-crore loan

Police have arrested four of the five suspects while the fifth person is at large

The stolen jewellery seized by police. Credit: Special arrangement

A gang of five allegedly cheated two businessmen of Rs 5.8 crore by promising them Rs 390 crore in loans. Curiously, the gang invested a big chunk of the booty in gold jewellery.

Police have arrested four of the five suspects while the fifth person is at large.

The arrested have been identified as Syed Ibrahim alias Daniel Armstrong alias Amaran, from Kerala; Vivekananda alias Vicky alias Viveka alias Vivekananda Kumar, Christopher alias Raghavan and Shivaraman alias Nagaraj, all from Tamil Nadu.

Their victims are Girish P, a real-estate businessman from Ashokanagar, and Taram, from Arunachal Pradesh.

Girish had been looking for a loan to start a new real-estate project. One of the gang members contacted him and directed him to Armstrong, who runs a finance firm near BTM Layout. Vivekananda and Raghavan later met Girish and finalised the deal for a Rs 150-crore loan. On November 8, Girish received the loan commitment by e-mail and was to receive the money on November 16. The gang’s commission was Rs 2.25 crore, and it insisted on upfront payment. But once Girish made the payment, the gang vanished, according to his police complaint.

The other businessman, Taram, lost Rs 3.6 crore. He was promised a loan of Rs 240 crore.

The gang arranged for his air travel from Arunachal Pradesh to Bengaluru on October 25 and met him in their office in BTM Layout. Taram was sent the loan commitment by e-mail on November 8, and Armstrong met him at his office on November 14. Taram agreed to pay a commission of Rs 3.6 crore and transferred the money the next day. The loan amount was to be transferred to him by evening but it never came. Taram went to Armstrong’s office and found out about the cheating.

Police say the gang had set up an elaborate plan to cheat. Armstrong registered a finance firm called ‘Ace Ventures Capital, MOU Group of Companies’ in the first week of November, rented furniture and set up a makeshift office. A bank account was also opened in the company’s name.

The suspects later started scouting for businessmen seeking big loans. That’s how they contacted Girish and Taram.

The gang spent the money received from the two businessmen to buy gold jewellery from two separate stores in Bengaluru. It paid a whopping Rs 33 lakh in GST alone. The jewellery was taken to a hotel in Salem and split among the gang members.

Police have recovered 8,215 grams of gold, a BMW car, a Maruti Suzuki Ertiga and Rs 36.6 lakh in cash, besides freezing Rs 1.86 lakh found in the company’s bank account. Police believe the gang members spent about Rs 45 lakh on other purposes.

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