Pos­ing as sci­en­tist, man uses ‘rice-puller’ to cheat peo­ple

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - HTNAVIMUMBAI - G Mo­hi­ud­din Jeddy ht­for­nav­i­mum­bai@hin­dus­tan­times.com

The city crime branch has ar­rested three peo­ple who cheated peo­ple by of­fer­ing ‘rice puller’ at a cheaper rate.

The po­lice have also seized a For­tuner and Er­tiga along with walkie-talkies from the ac­cused.

Rice puller is be­lieved to be an item which at­tracts or pulls rice like a mag­net at­tracts iron par­ti­cles. They are cop­per-irid­ium coins with a mint date of 1616 that are re­ported to have mag­i­cal qual­i­ties. The po­lice said no such thing ex­ists and that it is a scam.

Se­nior po­lice in­spec­tor of crime unit 1, De­v­i­das Son­awane, learnt that a per­son had been cheated near NRI Colony. A com­plaint was reg­is­tered in this re­gard on March 9.

A trap was laid near Delhi Pub­lic School, next to the NRI com­plex. The crime branch team ar­rested Punju Pu­jari, 35, a res­i­dent of Dom­bivli, Santosh Shinde, 35, a res­i­dent of Gore­gaon, and Dhanashree Rane, 35, a res­i­dent of And­heri.

Deputy com­mis­sioner of po­lice (crime) Dilip Sawant said, “Pu­jari claimed to be a met­al­lur­gist, and the other two ac­cused were his as­sis­tants who would go around ask­ing peo­ple if they Crime branch of­fi­cers dis­play the equip­ment seized from the three ar­rested peo­ple on Satur­day.

had old ves­sels. They would tell them they could check if the ves­sel was a rice puller.”

Sawant said, “He would then of­fer to get it tested for its gen­uine­ness from BARC and would ask for a de­posit of Rs4,25,000.”

He added, “He would take the cus­tomer to a se­cluded area, place a ves­sel that is a rice puller in a box, ap­ply an oily so­lu­tion to it. He would use the heat mea­sur­ing kit and a ther­mome­ter kit that he had along with his lap­top to test the ves­sel. He would then sell the ves­sel for Rs10 lakh.”

Sawant said, “Pu­jari orig­i­nally hails from Kar­nataka and is Class 12 fail. He had been work­ing at CST at a tea stall. He met some Ben­gali babas who in­dulged in black magic who taught him the tricks.”

He added, “To im­press his clients, he would hire walkie talkie equipped body­guards who ac­com­pa­nied him.” The po­lice have seized a cop­per ves­sel cov­ered in oil kept in a plas­tic box and the rice puller test­ing kits, lap­top and also three iden­tity cards of Pu­jari.

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