‘Con man’ held for fleecing people in Jharkhand, Bihar - Hindustan Times
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‘Con man’ held for fleecing people in Jharkhand, Bihar

Jun 15, 2023 10:07 PM IST

Khunti superintendent of police (SP) Aman Kumar said during the investigation it came to light that the accused committed similar crimes across several districts in Bihar and Jharkhand and conned different persons to the tune of around ₹25 lakh since November 2022.

Ranchi: A alleged con man accused of fleecing lakhs of rupees from over two dozen people across Jharkhand and Bihar was arrested in Khunti district on Wednesday, police said.

The accused was arrested from Jharkhand’s Khunti district on Wednesday. (Picture for representation)
The accused was arrested from Jharkhand’s Khunti district on Wednesday. (Picture for representation)

According to police, the accused, identified as Atal Bihari alias Bihari Mandal (45), a resident of Godda district, operated by the name of Deepak Kumar, who posed as a junior engineer of the public health engineering department (PHED) to fleece people across different districts in Jharkhand and Bihar in the guise of awarding a contract to get hand pumps or water towers installed at different offices.

“He used his fake identity to impress upon government officials, bankers, doctors to get connected with local contractors, money bags and fleeced them,” police said.

A case was registered with Sayko police station in Khunti district on June 6, 2023, on the complaint of a former gram pradhan, identifiied as Dasaya Munda, under Section 408, 419, and 420 of the IPC against the accused alleging that Mandal decamped with 1,32,000 he took from the victim at the camp office of Khunti deputy commissioner, police said.

Khunti superintendent of police (SP) Aman Kumar said during the investigation it came to light that Mandal committed similar crimes across several districts in Bihar and Jharkhand and conned different persons to the tune of around 25 lakh since November 2022.

“He had deposited around 15 lakh in the bank account of his wife who is a panchayat samiti member in Godda district. Part of that money has been spent. We have freezed the account which still has around 7.5 lakh. We are further investigating the case. While it seems, he was working as a lone wolf, his wife is likely to be booked as well because she was receiving the money in her account and was using it as well,” the SP said.

Regarding his modus operandi, Kumar said besides Khunti, Mandal fleeced people by taking them to the camp offices of deputy commissioners in Chaibasa, Jamshedpur, and Kaimur in Bihar, besides offices of banks, administrative blocks, police line, police station, railway station, agriculture department, and government hospitals.

“He is tenth pass but has a sharp mind. He has been in the business of taking small contracts from different government departments so he had a fair idea of the trade. He would befriend the government staff at various offices using his fake identity and inform them about some government scheme to install handpumps or construct water towers at their office. He would urge them to get him in touch with a local contractor or anyone having money and looking for an opportunity to get a contract,” said Kumar.

“The accused would further engage with these unsuspecting victims who would believe him as he met them through government officials. Finally, he would take some money in advance from these men against awarding the contract and would never return,” the SP said.

“In the case filed in Khunti, the accused took 1,32,000 from the victim in lieu of getting him pipes for the hand pump. He displayed a bunch of keys saying that it was of the store where the pipes were stored on the campus. The victim waited for around half an hour before he started looking for him. He returned to the DC camp office for another two days looking for the accused and later lodged a case after realising that he had been conned,” Kumar added.

The police said the SIT had to make trips to different districts, searched around 70 hotels, and scanned CCTV cameras at around 150 locations besides technical surveillance to identify the accused and arrest him.

“It was a blind case. He would make sure he does not leave any trail behind. He would always use different numbers and would always wear a helmet while travelling on his bike and would seldom take it off. The only thing we could manage was a sketch prepared of the accused as per the description provided by the Khunti victim. Then with the help of technical surveillance, we tried to track his location. We also monitored hundreds of bikes. We scanned around 150 CCTV cameras, around 60-70 hotels, mostly in Ranchi. We finally managed to arrest him while he was crossing through the district,” said Kumar.

As per confession of the accused, he has committed similar crimes in Kaimur, Bhabhua, Supaul, Darbhanga, Madhubani, Sherghati in Gaya district, Bihta in Patna besides Jamshedpur, Chaibasa, Khunti, and Saraikela in Jharkhand.

Kaimur and Jamsdhpur police have already questioned the accused in connection with cases registered against him, officials said.

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