In a bid to claim 10s, man loses lakhs of friend

An unidentified man employed the old trick of dropping currency notes to divert attention and robbed Mulund plastics trader Jagdish Ghadiya (57) of Rs 37 lakh in Fort Thursday evening.

Police said the accused unsuccessfully tried to rob a few others before striking big. They have a few leads from CCTV cameras at a Bank of Maharashtra branch nearby.

Police said Ghadiya of Yogi Hill in Mulund had gone to the office of his agent, who is also his relative, near Apna Bazaar to conclude the purchase of an apartment. He was supposed to pay Rs 1.5 crore and was carrying an advance of Rs 37 lakh in a suitcase he had kept in the rear seat of his car.

"The agent was bereaved and Ghadiya went upstairs to express sympathy, leaving his friend and broker Rasiklal Sanghvi (45) in the car," said Padmakar Juikar, senior inspector, MRA Marg police station.

He said at 5 pm, an unidentified man dropped a few Rs 10 notes near the car and asked Sanghvi whether they belonged to him. No sooner did Sanghvi step out to claim the money, the accused allegedly opened the rear door of the car and fled with the suitcase and a laptop bag.

"When Sanghvi realised a theft had taken place, he panicked and ran to fetch Ghadiya instead of chasing the thief. The next one hour, the two kept debating instead of alerting police. I do not think the accused expected to get away with so much money. I suspect a gang from outside Mumbai operating in the area is behind the theft," said Juikar.

He said Ghadiya approached police more than an hour after the theft.

"We are checking hotels and lodges in south Mumbai and also trains heading from CST and Kurla to southern states. We have evidence the gang hails from South. Sanghvi has provided us a description of the man and we also have a few drivers the thief tried to trick. I am sure the accused have not fled Mumbai and would spend a part of the money here," Juikar said.

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