In a shocking incident, a lady known as the ‘Lady Natwarlal’ who has allegedly cheated around Rs 10 crore, on false promises of quick money. As many as 40 women have been tricked into this.She has been named after the well-known conman Natwarlal who sold Taj Mahal and the Red Fort.
Absconding accused, 36-year-old Parveen Merchant, is being hunted by Bandra, Byculla and Mira Road police. As per allegations from women who have been cheated, she conned the women by tempting them to invest in her textile and dry fruits business. Merchant vanished without a trace after taking money.
As per one of the victim, Summaiya Khan said, “Both she and I are in the garment business. She befriended me and sweet-talked me into investing in her business. She promised me good returns, which did come initially. But later she started defaulting. I gave her several expensive mobile phones, over 900-gram gold, and Rs 24 lakh in cash. In all, she cheated me of Rs 1,24,00,000,”
Merchant also promised Summaiya that she would sell the phones at a higher rate, with a profit of Rs 10,000 which they could share equally.
Another victim, Rubi Sayyed, a resident of Bazar Lane in Bandra also came across Merchant. “Merchant used to stay in one of the societies near my residence. I run a tiffin service and that is how we came in contact with each other,” said Sayyed.
“I was under the impression that she lives with her 12-year-old son. She proposed that I invest in her business where she would provide me with double returns. I invested Rs 1,50,000 first and got a return of Rs 1,70,000. A month later, I invested around Rs 25 lakh. When I went to visit her after this, I realised that she had vacated the rented house and all her mobile phones were switched off”, she said.
“There are three registered FIRs against Merchant which we already know of. After being cheated by the same woman, by the same scheme, we are trying to get our complaints heard at the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the Mumbai police. The total value of our collective losses is up to Rs 10 crores. Police have failed to arrest her so far, even with FIRs registered as early as January 2016,” said Hasan Shaikh, a resident of Bandra, who was cheated of Rs 10 lakh after his aunt introduced him to Merchant.
“Not only the women who were trapped by Merchant, but also their relatives were deceived into investing in Merchant’s business,” said a police.