Regular-article-logo Friday, 29 September 2023

Chopper cheat in net at Calcutta

Rs 58000 for Rs 1500-ride

Snehal Sengupta Calcutta Published 20.12.19, 10:17 PM


A cellphone store employee was arrested late on Thursday on charges of cheating a New Town resident of Rs 58,000 by promising her a helicopter ride from Guwahati to Shillong, police said.

The ride usually costs Rs 1,500.


The complainant had planned a vacation in the Northeast and while searching the Net for helicopter rides she came across a phone number, put up by Sonu Kumar Mondal, an officer of the Bidhannagar commissionerate said.

Mondal, 30, a resident of Sevak Baidya Street near Maddox Square, had introduced himself as a tour operator with “vast experience” in organising “tailor-made vacations” , the officer said. “He apparently told the woman that he had helped several Calcuttans book helicopter services all over the country and managed to win her trust.”

Bidit Mondal, the inspector-in-charge of Salt Lake’s Cyber Crime police station, said Mondal called her daily to update her on chopper fares.

He had told her that the fares fluctuated daily because of weather and bookings for VIPs’ travel.

Once she appeared convinced, Mondal gave the woman his bank account number and asked her to make an advance payment to book her seats, the police said.

After receiving the money, Mondal called her multiple times and asked her to pay for travel insurance, baggage and booking charges and GST, among others, the police said.

Once he had received the money, Mondal allegedly stopped taking her calls and switched off his phone. He managed to evade arrest for at least two months as he had switched off the phone and stopped using the SIM card he had used to call the woman, the police said.

It was easy for Mondal to source SIM cards as he would often make photocopies of identity cards given to him by customers at the mobile shop, an officer said.

A Salt Lake court on Friday sent him to two days’ police custody.

The Meghalaya Transport Corporation runs copters between Guwahati and Shillong and Tura. A ride between Shillong and Guwahati takes 20 to 30 minutes and the fare is Rs 1,500 for one person.

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