New Delhi: In a crime reminiscent of a Bollywood movie released in 2013 in which a team of tricksters pulled off robberies posing as CBI officials, 15 men and women impersonated officials of the income tax (IT) and anti-corruption branch and conducted a fake raid at the house of money exchanger in east Delhi’s Shahdara on Sunday evening, hoping to get bags full of currency notes in higher denominations. They held the businessman and his family members hostage, seized their cellphones and ransacked the entire house, police said on Monday.

However, luck deceived them as all they could find in the house were some gold jewellery and 15,000 cash and four plastic sacks stuffed with cash in lower denominations. As their fake raid that actually was a dacoity did not yield the desired result, the tricksters decided to flee the businessman’s house with the snatched cellphones, a bag containing gold ornaments, and 15,000 cash. As they were leaving the lane, the family members screamed for help and alerted neighbours, who managed to overpower four of the impersonators, including a woman, the police said.

The four persons were arrested by the police after the incident was brought to the notice of the Shahdara police station through a call made by a neighbour of the businessman, whose name has been withheld by the police citing safety and security reasons. They were booked for dacoity, house-trespass, impersonating public servants, forgery, wrongful confinement, molestation and criminal conspiracy, a case regarding which was registered under Indian Penal Code’s sections 395, 451, 170, 465, 471, 342, 354 and 120-B, said deputy commissioner of police (Shahdara) R Sathiyasundaram.

Those arrested were identified as Gurpreet,30, Gurjant Singh,31, Navjot Singh,30 and Satpal Singh,28, all from Punjab. Two of the stolen cellphones were recovered from a Mahindra Bolero car having Punjab’s registration number that the 11 other suspects left behind while fleeing the neighbourhood, he said

“We suspect that someone known to the businessman may have tipped-off the suspects about the presence of huge cash at his house. The arrested persons are from Punjab. Identity cards of Anti Corruption Foundation of India were seized from them. There is a possibility that the other suspects and the ‘insider’ who was part of the dacoity conspiracy may have Punjab links. Our teams are conducting raids to nab the absconding persons,” said DCP Sathiyasundaram.

The DCP said that on Sunday, the police received a call that some income tax officials had conducted a raid at a businessman’s house in Shahdara without police and that they had seized the cellphones of all the family members. A police team immediately reached the businessman’s house and found that four suspects had been caught by the locals.

During the enquiry, the wife of the businessman said that her husband deals in currency exchange from his office in Chandni Chowk. Around 6 pm, 15 people, including women, forcibly entered their house, introduced themselves as anti-corruption branch officials and told the family members that they had come to conduct a raid.

“On being asked about the search warrant, they threatened the family members by saying that they were all armed with firearms. The dacoits seized the cellphones of all the family members and ransacked the entire ground and first floors. Some of them also molested the businessman’s wife. Thereafter, they fled with cash, cellphones and gold jewellery,” the DCP said, adding that four suspects were caught by locals after the family members raised an alarm and screamed for help.

During the interrogation, Gurjant revealed that he was previously involved in three drugs cases in Punjab while Navjot disclosed that he was booked in a cheating case in Chandigarh but it was settled with the complainant. Satpal admitted to his involvement in two drugs and a quarrel case in Punjab.

“We are verifying their disclosures through our counterparts in Punjab and Chandigarh. The identities of the other suspects are also being ascertained,” the DCP added.

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