From sharing his photos on social media in police uniform to living with four constables claiming to be their senior, a Navi Mumbai taxi driver, went to extraordinary lengths to lead a parallel life since 2018 after failing to achieve his childhood dream of joining Mumbai Police.
Vijay Ghundre (24) hails from Maharashtra’s Beed district. A case was registered against him by an assistant sub-inspector posted in the motor vehicle department on February 13, a day after he was arrested at Vashi. Before his arrest, Ghundre was driving a car of the police’s quick response team donning a uniform and displayed a “police” sign on his vehicle.
“He started living the life of a policeman so much that even his parents thought that he was an employee of the Mumbai police. On Thursday, after he was remanded in judicial custody, I called his 48-year-old father, a farmer in Beed. He was shocked when he heard that Ghundre was not a policeman,” sub-inspector Amol Sawant of Matunga police station said.
Ghundre told the police that since childhood, he always dreamt of becoming a policeman. He came to Mumbai in 2018 to join the police force but could not clear the recruitment process.
He then went on to stitch himself a police uniform and would often roam on the streets donning it. He also managed to obtain a fake Mumbai Police identity card and started uploading photos and videos of himself in uniform on social media. Investigators said when he got messages from police officials, he would claim to be from a batch different from theirs.
“In December 2019, he did not have any place to stay. While chatting with a police constable, who was posted in the local arms department in Worli, Ghundre told him that he was also in Naigaon local arms. He asked him for his recruitment year and when the response was 2018, Ghundre said he was from the 2017 batch,” said Sawant.
Ghundre even asserted his “seniority” and asked to stay with him and three of the constable’s colleagues. He stayed with them in their Dombilvali flat for four months and as he was not contributing to the monthly house rent, the four asked him to leave.
“Ghundre even took Rs 20,000 from one of them, claiming that he was in urgent need of cash which he never returned, instead he blocked the victim’s number,” said an officer.
The police added that posing as a police man, the accused would chat with multiple people on social media platforms. Ghundre even duped an armyman of Rs 50,000. The assistant sub-inspector filed the case against Ghundre after coming across his profile on social media. He got information on him from the department through a Right to Information plea.
An officer said the complainant, Gyaneshwar Pendare, only complained of impersonation.
A case was registered under Sections 170 (personating a public servant) and 171 (wearing garb or carrying a token used by a public servant with fraudulent intent) of the IPC and Sections 66 (C) and (D) of the IT Act.
The investigators have seized his uniform and fake identity card. “Ghundre told us that he made his uniform in Nanded and we are trying to verify that,” said an officer.
Senior inspector Nitin Bobade said, “We have contacted the two persons from whom he had taken money. The army man is in Haryana, but the constable is expected to come to the police station this week. We will record his statement and add sections of cheating.”
The officials said they are checking Ghundre’s phone and social media accounts to ascertain the exact number of people he duped. “We are also trying to verify whether he has conned people on the road for violating any rule,” said an investigator.
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