Kochi City police arrest couple involved in cheating cases

Accused allegedly submitted forged documents to secure many loans from a bank in 2018

A special squad of the city police has arrested a couple who were allegedly involved in large-scale cheating running into crores of rupees.

The arrested were identified as Ajitha Reji, 43, and her husband Reji Paulose, 47, of Thripunithura. They were picked up from Kamudam Nagar in Coimbatore, where they were hiding.

They were arrested by the Ernakulam Town South police on a petition by the branch manager of the Panampilly Nagar branch of Federal Bank in a case dating back to 2018. The accused allegedly submitted forged documents to secure vehicle loan, home loan, property mortgage loan, and asset guard loan to the tune of ₹1.59 crore between July and August, 2018. They failed to repay the loan and ran up dues of ₹1.83 crore.

“The accused has submitted fake IT returns and audit report to secure the loans. We also seized two bags containing 12 PAN cards, 10 voter id cards, multiple Aadhaar cards in different addresses, two driving licences, and 22 ATM cards and credit cards of various banks,” said M.S. Faisal, Station House Officer, Town South.

It has now emerged that the couple had cheated many more people across the State by arranging loans against their properties. There are complaints against them lodged in Palarivattom, Kadavathra, Hill Palace, Aluva, and Cherthala police stations.

They used to target property owners with low CIBIL score and properties against which banks would not have lent money.

“They either approached victims through brokers or advertised about arranging property loans for otherwise ineligible people. They then secured loans against the guarantee of victims’ properties using forged documents. While the original loan amount is shared with the property owners, they later top up the loan for huge amounts with the connivance of banks and without the knowledge of property owners who get a rude shock when slapped with attachment notice for the non-payment of huge dues,” said Manual Jacob, one of the victims who formed an action council of sorts and petitioned the Chief Minister.

In some cases, the property was registered in the name of the accused against fake documents on the promise to return them on repaying the loan.

The accused also allegedly ran another scam in the name of sale of flats and villas showing properties that either belonged to someone else and were broken into or were heavily mortgaged. Mr. Jacob claimed to have lost ₹36 lakh in this manner.

“Then, as a settlement they gave me seven different properties, which I realised later were heavily mortgaged over which the banks had the first claim. The action council already has nine victims who were collectively cheated to the tune of crores,” said Mr. Jacob.

The police are expecting more people to come up with complaints. District Police Chief (Kochi City) H. Nagaraju had formed the special squad under Assistant Commissioner Y. Nizamudheen.

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