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Delhi jeweller fakes robbery to escape repaying bank loans

To escape paying the EMIs on loans he had taken for his gold jewellery business, a man got his friend to wear a burqa and use a toy gun to carry out a fake robbery of gold worth Rs 61 lakh from his shop in Central Delhi’s Chandni Mahal on Friday night, the police said on Sunday.

While the “robbery” itself was carried out convincingly — the jeweller got himself thrashed and bound up with rope — the police scrutinized CCTV footage to determine that he had allowed a friendly entry to the robber and that it was eventually a fake robbery, said Sanjay Bhatia, deputy commissioner of police (central district).

The police have arrested three men — the jeweller Abhijeet Samanta, and his friends property dealer Farhan and mechanic Munna.

While Farhan allegedly arranged the burqa and the toy gun, Munna was the man who carried out the fake robbery.

The DCP said that 40-year-old Samanta had a jewellery making shop and he would supply readymade gold jewellery to showrooms in Central Delhi. “Between 2017 and 2018, he had taken loans of a total of Rs 61 lakh from three banks to enhance his business. But his business never took off the way he had hoped,” said the DCP.

It turned worse during the lockdown as he got no business and the banks were pressuring him to pay the equated monthly installments (EMIs) for the loans.

“Samanta thought that if he could show that his gold stock was robbed, he could avoid having to pay the loan. So, he roped in his two friends,” said the DCP.

While he asked Farhan to arrange the toy gun and a burqa, he tasked Munna with the fake robbery, the officer said.

As per the plan, Samanta had returned to his shop after collecting a payment of Rs 50,000 from a jeweller around 8.30 pm on Friday.

“Soon after he entered his shop, Munna wearing a burqa followed him, placed the gun on his forehead, beat him up and robbed the cash from him. Samanta then allowed himself to be tied up with a rope and then pretended that he was forced to hand over the keys to the lockers. Munna picked up a 1.6 kilo of gold and another one kilo gold brick and fled,” said the DCP.

On receiving a call soon after the fake robbery, the police began checking the CCTV footage inside and outside the shop.

“Samanta and Munna had done well to make it appear like a real robbery, but the shopkeeper leaving the door open behind him aroused our suspicion. So, we began observing the footage more keenly and found Samanta’s overall behavior during the robbery quite fishy,” said the DCP.

Police said that they questioned Samanta for six hours on Saturday following which he broke down and revealed his plan.

The police have recovered all the gold, the burqa and the toy pistol.

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