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Trader held for cheating company of crores

Bhubaneswar, April 22: Andhra Pradesh police arrested a city-based businessman here today for cheating a construction company based in the Hyderabad of around Rs 8.81 crore.

The accused, Sourav Brata Mohanty, 45, had promised the Hyderabad-based company to hand over sub-contracts for a titanium project at Chhatrapur.

Mohanty had showed the company officials fake work orders based on which they signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU).

Police said Mohanty was a resident of Nageswartangi in Lingaraj police limits. A joint team consisting of Hyderabad police personnel, a special squad of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar police and Lingaraj police conducted a raid on Mohanty’s residence at Nageswartangi this morning and took him into custody.

Mohanty was produced before the sub-divisional judicial magistrate (SDJM), Bhubaneswar, this afternoon and taken on transit remand.

R. Pratap Kumar, inspector, Central Crime Station, Hyderabad, said Mohanty portrayed his company to be registered with Odisha Construction Corporation Limited (OCCL), a state government construction company. He claimed that his company had bagged the earth-digging work and other civil construction contracts in the titanium project at Chhatrapur.

“Mohanty and some of his associates lured the officials of Agri Gold Projects Limited to enter into a partnership with them. They also showed company officials the work sites in Chhatrapur.

Falling into the trap, the company signed a memorandum of understanding with the accused worth Rs 1,000 crore in September 2010. Later, in different phases they paid cash worth Rs 8.81 crore to the accused according to his demands,” said Kumar.

The inspector said Mohanty and his two friends — Lokesh Giri, who posed as proprietor of Push Hills Projects Private Limited, and Veeraswami Reddy, who claimed to be the owner of Verma Sales Corporation and some other friends — took the money at different times.

However, after they paid around Rs 8.81 crore, the accused persons did not contact them. Despite several attempts by Agri Gold officials, Mohanty and his friends remained untraceable. They even went to the offices and houses of the accused persons, but found no leads.

They later checked with OCCL about the titanium project and the government-run company denied having given work orders to the fake firm. It was then that the Hyderabad-based company realised they had been cheated.

The chief general manager of Agri Gold Projects Limited, Ratan Prasad, lodged a complaint with the Hyderabad police in August 2011. The police have been searching for the accused persons since then.

The visiting police team said Mohanty was involved in several cases of cheating in Delhi, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh and Odisha.

“We are searching for Mohanty’s other associates involved in this case. His acquaintances are from various parts of the country. We suspect they might be hiding in Lucknow, Bihar and other places in north India,” said a police official.