A Nigerian national and three accomplices were arrested by the Local Crime Branch (LCB), Thane Rural for cheating a resident local of nearly Rs. 23 lakh in an online scam.
Police said the Nigerian offered a dealership for ‘special seeds’ that grow only in Nigeria, which he claimed can cure AIDS. The seeds turned out to be ‘Bitter Kola’ (botanical name: Garcinia kola ), which grows in abundance in Western and Central Africa.
Anil Mathur, a resident of Naya Nagar, Mira Road came in contact with the Nigerian, identified as Uzoma Eleazar, on social media and developed a friendship. Eleazar offered Mr. Mathur a dealership in seeds that he claimed used to produce expensive medicines in Nigeria. The victim fell for it and had paid nearly Rs. 23 lakh since June 21.
Police said Eleazar managed to sell seeds in 400-gram packets for Rs. 1 lakh each. API Prafull Wagh, LCB, Thane Rural said the seeds are sold for Rs. 1,000 per kg in Nigeria.
Mr. Wagh said, “We have arrested Eleazar and his Indian agents, Taufiq Hussain, 47, a resident of Panvel, Fazal Ahmed Syed, 28, and Yogesh Kumar Patil, 31, from Navi Mumbai. All accused have been remanded in police custody till July 27 by a Thane court. We have also seized around 10 mobile handsets using which the accused called Mr. Mathur from different numbers, three laptops, Rs 4.20 lakh in cash and packets containing the seeds.”
He said more arrests are likely as the accused have conned several people in Maharashtra and other states through an online scam. “We have appealed to the victims to come forward and register complaints against the accused,” Mr. Wagh said.