The main accused Murugesh died last year due to age related ailments, said officials, adding that the police have arrested his son Sathishkumar, who took over the business from father, and the latter’s accomplices identified as Balakrishnan, Saravanan, Mohankumar and Raja. They were arrested based on a complaint from K Salapathy of Mogappair, who runs a construction firm at Arumbakkam, who lost Ra 13.60 lakh to the fraudsters.
Explaining their modus operandi, inspector Kamalakannan said that the gang would lure gullible people ‘invest’ Rs 10,000 through their firm John Megnon, which in turn would invest the money in iridium stacked in Germany and return Rs 1 crore after six months.
“They also claimed that it was a legal business done with the consent of Reserve Bank India through an agent named Gayatri Suresh based in Germany and collected the victims’ identity proofs and bank account particulars to deposit the returns directly. They also canvassed the victims to bring in more investors for a commission, and thus cheated about 18,000 people in Chennai, Coimbatore, Tirupur and other districts,” said the inspector.
The gang has been in the business since 2011, said the official. Salapathy fell prey to their tricks in 2015 after he suffered a huge loss in the business. He was introduced to Murugesh and Sathishkumar through a friend, and deposited Rs 13.60 lakh by producing Aadhaar cards and bank accounts of 136 persons he knows.
Initially they kept giving different excuses for not depositing Rs 1 crore for each of the depositors. Later, they started blaming COVID and lockdown for delaying it.
In September, Sathishkumar approached Salapathy claiming that money was ready to transferred from Germany and asked him to book a house in Chennai to complete the paper work. However, as they just called people who had already invested in the firm and asked them to get more investors, Salapathy grew suspicious and lodged a complaint at Neelankarai police station.
A case was registered and all five suspects were secured. A laptop, three computers, three cars and Rs 50,000 in cash were seized from them. The police have also included the so-called German agent Gayatri Suresh also as an accused, but further investigation is on to find out whether such a person really exists. The arrested men were remanded in judicial custody on Monday.