Mumbai News : Around 10 wholesale gold and diamond traders had approached LT Marg police in December last year and January this year, alleging that Pillai had duped them to the tune of ₹4.22 crore .
The LT Marg Police seized ₹2.9 crore in cash from a BMW car in Thane while arresting the owner of S Kumar Jewellers, Shrikumar Shankaran Pillai, on Thursday, in a case of cheating and fraud. Cops also seized the second-hand BMW car that Pillai bought two years ago.
Around 10 wholesale gold and diamond traders had approached LT Marg police in December last year and January this year, alleging that Pillai had duped them to the tune of ₹4.22 crore.
Cops sniffed out the stink when, at the time of arrest, Pillai hid his car keys. “The vehicle was parked in the building’s premises; and when we opened the door, we found bags stashed inside, as well as the dicky. All the bags contained cash,” said an investigation officer.
During interrogation Pillai claimed it was his money which he had kept in the car for more than five to six months, added the officer. Pillai was produced before a metropolitan magistrate court which remanded him in police custody on Friday. “He will be interrogated further for clarity about the seized cash,” added the officer.
The first complaint against Pillai was made by 59-year-old Kantilal Kesharimal Jain, owner of EMK Jewellers, in Kalbadevi. Based on Jain’s statement, LT Marg police station registered an FIR against Pillai, his two firms — S Kumar Jewellers and S Kumar Gold and Diamond — his daughter and two managers for criminal breach of trust and cheating on August 12.
In his statement to the police, Jain said he had started out in the business in 2008. He made gold bangles and sold the ornaments at wholesale price in the city and outside. Pillai met Jain at his Kalbadevi office in 2016 and told him that he was in a similar trade and owned a jewellery shop in Mulund from where he sold gold ornaments in retail.
Between 2016 and 2020, Jain received many orders for gold bangles from Pillai and got paid for them as well. It would later emerge this was Pillai’s modus operandi to win the wholesaler’s trust. Thereafter, between December 2020 and December 2021, Pillai gave nine more orders for bangles worth ₹58.68 lakh, but he did not make any payment, Jain alleged.
Emboldened by his first scam, Pillai employed the same technique to fleece others in his trade. A police officer, who is part of the investigation team, said, “We received 11 similar complaints from jewellery wholesalers, mostly from Zaveri Bazar, including Jain, who deal in gold ornaments, alleging that Pillai duped them all to the tune of ₹4.24 crore. We recorded statements of all the bullion traders and after verifying facts started looking for Pillai.”