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20 July 2024

DB arrests gang defrauding elites by selling coins

Imran Ali

Published: 03:10, 6 December 2023

DB arrests gang defrauding elites by selling coins

Photo: Messenger

For the past few years, a nefarious gang has ensnared numerous affluent individuals in society, including retired government officials, military personnel from the army, navy, and air force, as well as high-ranking police officers, through a deceitful scheme involving the sale of regular coins disguised as valuable East India Company coins. The victims have collectively incurred losses amounting to billions of taka due to this elaborate ruse.

Law enforcement, represented by the Detective Branch (DB), managed to apprehend a group associated with fraudulent activities related to coins and pillars after the gang had illicitly amassed around Tk 4 crore. Following the arrest, the DB unveiled the alarming tactics employed by the group.

The gang's modus operandi involved purchasing old coins from Gulistan at a nominal price of 30 taka. Subsequently, through a specialized process, they inserted magnets into these coins at an additional cost of 40 taka, resulting in a total investment of 70 taka per coin. Thereafter, they targeted affluent individuals within society, selling these modified coins for exorbitant amounts running into crores of taka.

Numerous instances of fraudulent activities have affected several businessmen in various upscale areas of the capital. In response to these complaints, the Metropolitan Detective Police apprehended four members of the gang, recovering approximately 11 lakh taka along with numerous manipulated coins.

Another case involved a businessman losing around 4 crore taka after falling victim to a similar fraudulent scheme wherein the gang employed pillars instead of coins. Subsequently, the victim lodged a case at the Ramna police station in the capital, leading to the DB's arrest of four criminals associated with the case.

Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence, Moshiur Rahman, highlighted the ongoing efforts of the Metropolitan Intelligence Police to apprehend other members of the gang. He pointed out that several traders suffered substantial losses running into crores of taka due to this fraudulent cycle centered around coin scams. Moreover, this deceitful circle operates nationwide, exploiting the greed of many individuals who have amassed significant sums of money.

The gang's deceptive tactics involved the initial purchase of old coins from Gulistan for 30 taka, followed by the expenditure of an additional 40 taka to affix the label "East India Company" within the coin using a magnet. Subsequently, they targeted prominent businessmen and bureaucrats, orchestrating meetings in opulent settings such as five-star hotels or luxurious residences. At a critical juncture, they sold these manipulated coins to victims for prices ranging from 20 to 50 lakh taka, vanishing without leaving any trace.
According to the DB, the members of this fraudulent group typically operated in affluent areas like Gulshan, Banani, Baridhara, Uttara, and Bhatara. They cultivated relationships with various affluent individuals to perpetrate their fraudulent schemes effectively.
In a subsequent development, the DB police arrested four members of the syndicate involved in embezzling Tk 3.5 crore, as per the case filed at the Ramna police station. The individuals detained were identified as Md Mizanur Rahman Majnu, Md Aktaruzzaman (also known as Taherul Islam), Md Jasim, and Ibrahim Bepari. During the arrest, authorities seized an alleged British border pillar, four purported ancient coins, Tk 10 lakh and 55 thousand in cash, four mobile phones, a contract, 32 checks, fake visiting cards, and a microbus from the suspects.

Joint Commissioner of Detective Police, Haroon Or Rashid, shed light on the investigation, revealing that the primary targets of this fraudulent ring were new industrialists and retired government officials. The gang's tactics involved enticing these individuals with the prospect of buying and selling alleged ancient archaeological artifacts, boundary pillars, and ancient coins, ultimately siphoning off crores of taka.

Rashid explained a specific case where the accused Taherul Islam manipulated a victim. Taherul posed as the Bangladesh Country Director of an American company named Heritage Auctions, creating an impression of affluence and credibility through his appearance, possessions, and demeanor. By leveraging this facade, he built a rapport with the victim. Subsequently, Taherul fabricated a story about a simple farmer discovering a boundary pillar near Mizanur's residence while farming. He falsely claimed that, being the country director of the American company, he could facilitate the sale of this pillar for 200 crore taka. The victim, driven by greed, fell for the ruse and offered to purchase it for 3.5 crore taka, along with a check totaling around 30 crore taka. 

In light of these fraudulent activities, the authorities urged anyone falling victim to such schemes to immediately report to the nearest police station. Additional Commissioner of Police (Detective) Mohammad Haroon Or Rashid cautioned the public against becoming ensnared in such fraudulent traps, emphasizing the importance of vigilance and prompt reporting of any suspected fraudulent activities to prevent further victimization.

Messenger/Sun Yath