ITANAGAR, Nov 23: The Naharlagun Police has arrested a 65-year-old habitual cheat namely, Mahesh Sharma from Guwahati, Assam after months of electronic and human surveillance, a senior police officer said on Wednesday.
The arrested conman whose actual name is Ratan Nath, a native of Assam’s Dhemaji, who was on the run for the last eight months, has allegedly duped several people of lakhs of rupees by promising them of loans and financial and technical support to set up small-scale factories.
City SP Jimmy Chiram said the arrest was made by a team from Naharlagun Police Station led by Sub-Inspector SI S S Jha that took up the investigation basing on a complaint received in March 2022 that a finance company namely ‘Omega Associates’ and its MD Mahesh Sharma had cheated multiple people lakhs of rupees by promising them loans and financial and technical support to set up small-scale factories, he said.
During the course of investigation it was learnt that the alleged accused Mahesh Sharma doesn’t exist and the address given by him for obtaining a bank account (in the name of the firm) and the office was false. After months of electronic and human surveillance, the police team got to know that the man is now operating under another name namely Mrinal Baruah and had set up another finance company ‘Star Marketing Services’ and is planning to again cheat people of the state by giving advertisements in a local leading daily seeking regional managers and associates for the new firm. Police had sent a decoy customer to the registered office of Star Marketing Services at Guwahati and arrested Mahesh Sharma who now identified himself as Mrinal Baruah.
Mahesh Sharma @ Subhash Chandra Borah @ Mrinal Baruah @ SK Sharma @ Manindra Kakoti’s original name is Ratan Nath and he is a 65-year-old man and a native of Dhemaji, Assam, the SP said.
After graduating from the Dhemaji College in 1985-86 he tried his hands at various jobs and in desperation to earn quick money, in around year 2000 he started committing identity frauds, impersonation, forgery and cheatings.
As part of his modus operandi, he would create fake identity and use it to obtain PAN cards and driving licenses. Then using those ID cards, the conman would open a bank account and obtain trading license for financing firms. He would then publish advertisements in the leading local daily of Nagaland, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh seeking managers and agents for the said financing firms.
Seeing such advertisements, unemployed youth would apply. On pretext of high payments and commissions if they brought customers to the firm, innocent youth would be lured into their fraudulent business model.
The fraudulent business model involved dishonest promise by the conman to facilitate establishment of water bottling/paper manufacturing/tiles and ceramics manufacturing plants etc. He also proposed to provide easy finance through hassle-free loans for such establishments.
The regional managers/agents hired through advertisements would bring customers and on the assurance of such managers/ promise of quick loan disbursals for setting up of the manufacturing units such customers fall prey and invest huge amounts. Such customers were also charged high processing fee as part of their enrollments.
After receiving the said amounts the conman Ratan Nath will flee and change his identity completely as he did in the instant case where he became Mrinal Baruah from Mahesh Sharma making it almost impossible to trace him, Chiram said.
Till now, police has been able to identify 5 gullible victims of the fraud who have been duped to the tune of Rs 19 lakh, he informed.
The SP, while lauding the efforts of the police team, asked people to identify the said cheat and approach their nearest police station if they have been a victim of the arrested accused. He also urged people to be prudent with their money and be cautious while giving huge sums to strangers.