Rishikesh (Uttarakhand): A conman who recently got his book released by Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami has been arrested for allegedly duping a jeweller’s wife of cash and jewellery worth Rs 1.75 crore, officials said on Monday.
Mahendra Rode alias Yogi Priyavrat Animesh, who masquerading as a sadhu duped the woman, was arrested from Cottage no 21 of Nature Villa in Lal Tappar area late on Sunday night, Rishikesh DSP Dinesh Chandra Dhaundiyal said.
Gold and silver jewellery worth nearly Rs 10 lakh was also recovered from his possession, he said.
The conman had got his book titled ‘Manas Moti’, on spiritual and moral values, released by Uttarakhand Chief Minister Dhami at the Bijapur guest house in Dehradun on July 9, according to an official release.
A release from the Chief Minister’s Office had also shared with the media a photograph of Dhami holding a copy of the book. Dhami could be seen flanked by Animesh in the picture.
The conman was arrested following a case registered against him based on a complaint from a well-known jeweller of Rishikesh, Hitendra Panwar, who accused Animesh of duping his wife of cash and jewellery worth approximately Rs 1.75 crore, the DSP said.
According to the complaint, the jeweller’s wife was mentally unstable and fell into the imposter’s trap as she needed treatment.
The high-profile cheat was in the habit of getting himself photographed with influential people including politicians and posting the pictures on Facebook to flaunt his contacts. Moving around in the garb of a sadhu he used to look for soft targets and cheat them of their money, police said.
The conman is being interrogated after being taken on a 14-day judicial remand, they said.
Several cases are lodged against Animesh at Karnal in Haryana. He was sent to jail twice in the past in connection with different cases, the DSP said.
Efforts are underway to recover the looted cash and jewellery from him, he said.