In Focus

Colaba Police Book Fake 'Complainant', Posing as ‘Lawyer’, Blackmailing Others

By Manu Shrivastava

In a huge breakthrough, the Colaba Police personnel have arrested 47-year-old Salim Shaikh, resident of R S Nimkar Marg, who has allegedly been defrauding Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) authorities and scores of unassuming electricity consumers for some time now. This has been the outcome of detailed investigations undertaken by a BEST vigilance officer who unearthed the nature and extent of the fraud committed by the accused for years together. It was the repeated ‘withdrawal’ of complaints, in time, that flagged suspicions within the department and triggered the investigation.

POLICING CHEATS: Colaba Police Station now nabs a fake complainant
Senior Vigilance Officer Dattatray More employed with the BEST, for the last two decades, who led the investigation says, “The issue came to light when BEST officials realised they had regularly been receiving written complaints on the letterhead of a ‘law firm’ named Advocate Mansanghani and Sons. The complaints would be about ‘direct’ supplies, illegal electricity connections, etc.” 

On investigation, he found that, “all of them were written complaints received at the offices and no one had ever come in personal capacity to make a complaint or follow up on a written complaint.” That only fuelled the doubts in More’s mind.

BEST Act: Senior Vigilance Officer Dattatray More zeroed in on the offender 
Mr More submitted a detailed investigation report to his seniors in the department stating that “the fake complainant was habitual offender Salim Shaikh, aka Salim BEST who had also been booked in a case of theft in 2018 by the Nagpada Police Station.” Reportedly, Salim had then “made an application for requisition of electricity meter and submitted fake documents including a fake photograph, fake Aadhar Card, etc., to the BEST office.”

As soon as he realised he could be caught, he allegedly went back to the BEST office and “extracted them by deceit in order to leave no traces of his illegality.” It was in connection with this act, another BEST official had unearthed on investigation, that an offence of theft under IPC Section 380 had been registered at Nagpada Police Station.

Colaba Police Station’s Police Inspector and Investigating Officer Prasad Raut says, "An FIR was filed on 4 May 2022 at Colaba Police Station following which a notice was served to the accused Salim Shaikh on 11 May u/s 41-A of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC).” After rejection of his Anticipatory Bail Application, the accused was arrested on 15 July 2022. 

"He was produced before the court on 16 July 2022 that remanded him to three days of police custody that was extended by two days more on 19 July 2022. On 21 July 2022, the court granted the accused Magisterial Custody Remand / Judicial Custody.

FAKE BUSTER: Colaba Police Station Police Inspector Prasad Raut
The accused has now been booked under IPC Section 420 (Cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property), Section 465 (Punishment for forgery), Section 468 (Forgery for purpose of cheating) and Section 471 (Using as genuine a forged document).” 

In the investigation conducted over months preceding the arrest, it was revealed that of the two addresses mentioned on the letterhead, one near Horniman Circle turned out to be fake and the other, at R S Nimkar Marg, was of a building room that had been lying shut for over two decades. The accused was living on the same floor in the same building in an adjacent room," revealed PI Raut corroborating BEST Senior Vigilance Officer Mr More’s findings.

The Colaba Police have taken a statement from an affected consumer from Byculla who had been allegedly defrauded in the case. “The accused Salim Shaikh, known as Salim BEST in the area, would make regular complaints about small faults or illegalities in electricity connections or meters and threaten consumers that he would initiate stop work action or legal actions, to extort money. 

"Instances of fraud and other illegalities are commonplace and we have to keep a close vigil. For example, in 2019, I had investigated a matter where a man impersonating as a BEST employee was extorting money from consumers. A case against him has been registered with the Malabar Hill Station police."

(With inputs from Anushka Singh and Ruchi Verma)

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