Beard, Facebook photos land Pune man in jail for pretending to be navy officer

Posting images wearing uniform of the Indian Navy and sporting a beard on Facebook and Instagram nailed a man who used to commit online frauds using the fake Indian armed forces credentials. His online posts came under the anti-terrorism squad (ATS) scanner.

Later, the Chatuhshrungi police, along with the Pune unit of anti-terrorism squad (ATS), arrested the man on Thursday. Assistant police inspector (API) Sandesh Kenjale, police sub inspector Prem Waghmore and five police officials received information from API Vivek Patil of Pune ATS that a man residing in a society in Aundh is in possession of fake credentials of a navy officer.

The man was identified as Rajan Janardan Sharma, 23, a resident of Shailesh Tower in Siddharthnagar area of Aundh. The arrested identified himself as a native of Kakdwip Madhavnagar area of South 24 Parganas in West Bengal.

“He has a record of cheating cases from January. He has four cases, one each in Hinjewadi, Kondhwa, Bibvewadi and Yerawada under Section 420 (cheating) of Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Information Technology Act. The cheating cases were all in the range of ₹10-₹20k,” said API Kenjale of Chatuhshrungi police station who is investigating the case.

“He told everyone in his society that he was a navy officer. He also told his mother that he was selected and sourced uniforms from the navy bases in Goa. He also knows people in the navy,” said API Kenjale. A bachelor in commerce from Goa, Sharma landed on the ATS radar because of the beard he was sporting along with the navy uniform. He had posted the images on Facebook and Instagram, according to the police.

The policemen, along with two witnesses, visited Shailesh Tower to find Sharma on a motorbike with ‘navy’ written on it. The red Bajaj Pulsar 220 was registered in the name of a Janardan Sharma in Goa.

“When asked if he was an officer in the Indian Navy, he said no,” according to the complaint in the matter filed by police naik Dada Hanumant Kale of Chatuhshrungi police station.

However, he was found in possession of two identification cards, two white shirts from the official Navy outfit, a pair of white trousers, two p-caps, various batches from the Navy along with the motorbike.

A case under Section 171 (wearing garb or carrying token used by public servant with fraudulent intent) of Indian Penal Code (IPC) was registered against the man at Chatuhshrungi police station.

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