RAHIM YAR KHAN: A swindler has deprived scores of people of more than Rs1.8 million which he collected while using the banner of prime minister’s Ehsaas Programme.
The affected people allege that the man committed the crime right under the nose of the district administration and police and easily disappeared.
Information gleaned by this correspondent revealed that a young man having the appearance of a spiv got 10 motorcycle-rickshaws on rent and installed sound systems and banners of the PM Ehsaas Programme for publicity among the masses on March 13 and 14.
Meanwhile, he also contacted the owners of two shops adjacent to the Fruit and Vegetable Market on main Shahbazpur Road to get their shops on rent.
The suspect lured public by posing himself as govt representative
He displayed large banners of the government initiative outside these shops and lured people by writing “no one will sleep hungry” and any one can purchase beef at Rs300 per kg, chicken at Rs200 per kg, Dalda ghee at Rs150 per kg and other utility items at subsidised rates. He also placed three wooden benches outside a shop and started selling beef and chicken by engaging two butchers.
He sold these items and attracted the customers by blaring the songs eulogising Imran Khan. As the crowd of customers swelled, he collected money and issued tokens asking people to get their items the next day (Monday). But when a good number of people thronged his shop, the swindler had already fled after winding up the set-up.
Among those affected were Ibrahim, a resident of Chak 72 NP, who said someone called the 15 police helpline in response to which a team picked up a butcher’s helper from the spot and got money from him. He said a number of people had been deprived of their hard-earned money.
Another person said the swindler did not pay a single rupee to the drivers of the motorcycle-rickshaws he hired on rent, sound system service providers and the traders who provided meat to him.
A chicken trader, Rana Abdul Latif, said the suspect took chicken worth Rs175,000 from him and paid him only Rs80,000 when he visited the set-up three times and insisted on the payment. He claimed that the man also took Rs200,000 worth of beef from Abdul Ghaffar, a butcher of Akbar Road.
Latif said police arrested a butcher’s salesman and set him at liberty after taking Rs5,000 from him.
Yet another person bemoaned why police did not spring into action when the suspect was doing publicity on the city roads and clearly violating the amplifier act.
Additional Deputy Commissioner (General) Sheikh Muhammad Tahir told Dawn that he would investigate the matter because the person in question had misused the prime minister’s name and brought a bad name to the the government. He said police should register a case of fraud and violation of the amplifier act.
He said action would be taken against the policemen if found guilty of negligence. Police spokesperson Ahmed Nawaz Cheema said they would start investigation only after receiving a complaint.
Published in Dawn, March 18th, 2021