Mahesh Vala (in the middle) in police custody

Vadodara: Business losses during Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown may have pushed Shahid Navdekar, the mastermind of black dollar scam, as he wanted to repay his housing loan.
Investigators said that Shahid used the siphoned money to repay his loan that was due for many months while another accused Bharat Gida invested the money in land.
The probe also revealed that Navdekar learnt the trick of duping people from Nigerian gangs by seeing their videos online.
Crime branch officials said that Shahid, who was arrested three days ago in a Rs 30 lakh cheating case, had seen videos of the Nigerian gangs’ rackets on YouTube for months.
“During interrogation, Shahid, a resident of Mumbai, said he saw many videos of the black dollar scam executed by the Nigerian gangs in different parts of the country. He thought it was a good way to make quick money and hence he decided to form a gang,” said a crime branch official.
Shahid, who was in the used tyres business, had come in touch with Gida, a resident of Amreli, during the former’s business visits to Gujarat.
Shahid and Gida, who have cases of assault, kidnapping and cheating registered against him, then made plans to dupe people and they involved two more persons Mahesh Vala and Imran Bhurani. Maulik Prajapati, a businessman from Ahmedabad, came in contact with Gida last year.
Gida convinced Prajapati to invest money in black dollars and earn quick profits.
Gida, a former leader of…

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