The Maharashtra police in Pune have arrested two men and a woman on charges of defrauding a pharmacy shop owner by claiming to possess British-era gold coins.
According to officials, the suspects demanded Rs 30 lakh from the shop owner in exchange for a bag supposedly containing British gold-era coins, which they claimed were discovered during construction work in Goa.
The identities of the suspects have not been disclosed. To gain the shop owner’s trust initially, they showed him one coin with a Victorian mint mark. Subsequently, they handed over 16 kilograms of brass coins with a gold polish. These deceptive events occurred in February.
A First Information Report (FIR) was filed based on the complaint of a 55-year-old medical shop owner in the Khadki area, under the jurisdiction of the Khadki police station.
It is believed that this scam began in the second week of February when one of the individuals started visiting the shop to befriend the owner and gain his confidence.
An officer from the Khadki police station explained, “The person told the complainant that he and his friends had discovered a trove of buried gold during excavation work for an ongoing road construction project in Goa. The suspects claimed that the treasure consisted of 28 kilograms of gold coins from the British era and offered to sell it to him for Rs 50 lakh.”
The medical shop owner informed the police that the deal was finalized for 16 kilograms of gold coins in exchange for Rs 30 lakh and requested a sample to verify the authenticity.
During one of their meetings, one of the suspects, carrying a bag of purported ‘antique’ coins, presented a coin to the complainant. To everyone’s surprise, this coin turned out to be genuine when the complainant had it verified by a jeweler. On February 26, along Chakan Mhalunge Road, the suspects executed the exchange, taking Rs 30 lakh in cash from the shop owner in return for the bag of gold coins. However, it was only later that he realized that all the coins were counterfeit, composed of brass or similar metals, merely coated with a gold-colored polish.
By that time, the fraudsters had fled and could not be contacted.
Officials reported that the complainant had made several unsuccessful attempts to reach the fraudsters over the past few months, leading him to seek police assistance to file a formal complaint.
Sub-Inspector Anil Rikibe, leading the investigation, mentioned that his team is actively pursuing various leads provided by the complainant. He emphasized the importance of the public being vigilant, urging them not to fall for such scams and to immediately report them to the police if encountered. Currently, the police are investigating how the brass coins acquired Victorian mint marks.