MCOCA convict family latest Tihar jailbirds

A family of five is the latest edition to the 2,500 convicted inmates in Tihar Jail. What makes the five unique is the fact that they will be among the only five convicted families in the prison; and that theirs is only the second case in which the police have managed to get conviction under the stringent MCOCA Act in the last 18 years.

Since 2001, when Delhi police started invoking MCOCA Act to fight organized crime, they have registered 101 cases under the law but got conviction in only two cases.

Police officers, who investigated the case, say that convicts Vipin Sharma, his wife Honey Sharma, Sharma’s brother Sachin and Honey’s two siblings Aman Alam and Harshad Alam had together duped over 200 job seekers.

On May 30, a court convicted the five along with their accomplice and sent them all to 12 years rigorous imprisonment. According to the court order, all five convicts also have to pay a fine ranging from ₹10 lakh to ₹1 lakh for the victims who were promised jobs abroad but lost their money.

Retired Delhi police’s deputy commissioner of police LN Rao, who was the investigating officer, says the case was transferred to the special cell — anti-terror unit of city police —after senior police officers received complaints about the local police not acting against the family.

“From their ill-gotten wealth, they had also bought a house worth over ₹4 crore in Defence Colony . They had hired a security guard whose job was to tell every visitor that the house was sealed by the bank. The bungalow had two entry points. They had themselves sealed the front gate and used the rear entrance to get in. Through our informers, we learned that they were living in the so-called sealed house and were running their operation from there,” Rao said.

Rao, who started practising law after his retirement in 2014, said the family released advertisements in local dailies in Delhi, Punjab, and Haryana, promising jobs abroad. They would charge applicants fee and promised them visa,” he said.

“To win over the confidence of the job seekers, they would take the money in instalments. After receiving a certain sum, they would print fake visas on the passport of the victims with the help of their accomplice, Bhupender,” Rao said.

“Assuming the visas to be genuine, the victims would pay the money only to realise later that they had been duped,” he said.

According to the case papers, each family member had a case of cheating against them. The kingpin, Vipin, had 23 cases, his brother Sachin had 6 cases, Vipin’s wife Honey was involved in 11 cases, while her brothers Arshad Alam and Aman Alam had eight and seven cases against them respectively. Papers show Honey was involved in managing the finances of the family. In 2009, when police busted the racket, they had unearthed five bank accounts. The accounts showed a total transaction of 1.83 crore in nine months.

“This was a gang that moved as an upper-middle-class family in an Audi A 4 but were the most remorseless of the cons. Most victims in Punjab and Haryana had sold their property to pay them for a job. They duped such people. It is important that such frauds are convicted. Justice may be slow but it is certain,” Rao said.

“Special public prosecutor Ravinder Khandelwal was instrumental in helpling us getting a conviction in a case under a section in which there has only been two convictions in the last 18 years,” Rao said.

First Published:
Jun 10, 2019 06:56 IST

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