3 held for selling fake herbal meds

Delhi Police have arrested three accused persons involved in a deceitful scheme that preyed on vulnerable families seeking herbal treatments for incurable diseases.

The fraudsters were taken into custody by the staff of Lajpat Nagar Police Station in the South-East District after a concerned complainant reported the incident.

The accused have been identified as Dalip Bellani alias Vishal Pandit (44), Saurabh Singh (25), and Shekhar Venkatappa Shirke (27), all residents of Delhi. Their modus operandi involved duping innocent people, particularly those desperate for a cure for conditions such as Autism Spectrum Disorder and Palsy, by selling fake herbal medicines.

Rajesh Deo Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Southeast said that the incident came to light when the complainant Sumit Verma approached the police with a complaint detailing how his family fell victim to the scam.

On a visit to DLF Mall in Noida, they encountered an unknown individual who claimed to offer effective treatments for Autism Spectrum Disorder. This person lured them to visit the “Herbal Ayurvedic Store” in Lajpat Nagar, Delhi.

Once at the store, Vishal Pandit, one of the accused, convinced the complainant that their special herbal oils had cured numerous patients with Autism and other ailments. He concocted a mixture using different ‘herbs’ soaked in oil and presented a hefty bill of Rs 5,19,240 after a supposed discount of Rs 19,240.

The unsuspecting complainant paid a whopping sum of Rs. 5,00,000 in cash to purchase the concoction, hoping for a positive outcome for his son. However, doubts arose when Verma consulted his regular doctor, who confirmed that they had fallen prey to a fraudulent Ayurvedic treatment. Later, acting swiftly, the police registered a case under Sections 406, 420, and 120B of the IPC, Deo mentioned.

Later, the cops conducted a raid at the Herbal Ayurvedic Store, leading to the apprehension of the three cheaters. The raid also resulted in the discovery of several plastic bottles containing powdered mixtures, which were being passed off as precious solid extracts, DCP Southeast confirmed.

During interrogation, the accused confessed to preying on the vulnerability of desperate families seeking alternative treatments. They employed agents on a commission basis to identify potential customers near hospitals and malls in Delhi NCR. These agents would share fabricated stories of their relatives making miraculous recoveries through Ayurvedic remedies, enticing victims to visit the store.

The fraudsters would then concoct the fake herbal mixture using inexpensive materials, such as Bhasma and powders, sourced from various locations in Delhi. To further deceive their victims, they used fake GST stamps on the bills, DCP Rajesh Deo said.

The accused have had a history of involvement in petty crimes, with Dalip Bellani alias Vishal Pandit being previously implicated in two cases of cheating. The other two suspects, Saurabh Singh and Shekhar Venkatappa Shirke, had no prior criminal records, the official added.

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