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Pastor scams Naga woman of Rs 3.5 cr; arrested

Nagaland News

DIMAPUR, DECEMBER 2: Dimapur police arrested one Rev. Timothy Joshi alias Joshua alias, Pastor of New Life Church Ministry, Khantibhita (Darjelling), West Bengal, and brought him to Dimapur on the basis of a fraud complaint amounting to the tune of Rs 3.5 crore filed by a Naga woman.
The complainant stated that in the year 2019, one of her friend introduced Rev. Timothy Joshi alias Joshua to her for some assistance in his Church ministry and they got acquainted. Thereafter, Rev Timothy Joshi alias Joshua made a business proposal for purchase of a mystery box found by a Kolkata farmer, Rakesh Singh in his farmland.
Rev. Timothy Joshi alias Joshua convinced the victim that he got a divine revelation from God that the “Mystery Box” will bring big fortune and good luck. He told her that fortune box was on offer for Rs. 4 crore whereas its actual worth was estimated at Rs 22 crore. She was then introduced to one Manish Awasti, posing as Managing Director, RM Trading Company, who promised to buy the “Mystery Box” for Rs. 22 crore on the condition that victim should first invest in the box by making a payment of Rs. 4 crore.
Accordingly, the victim deposited Rs. 3.5 crore to various accounts of the scammers in a series of Bank transfers from 2019-2020.
The victim was then invited to Kolkata and was put up in 5-Star Hotel and the scammers posing as high profile businessmen with bodyguards came in SUVs and met her. The scammers and victim got into 2 cars and went to an area near Bangladesh border for collection of the so-called “Mystery Box” and came back. The car with the victim first reached the hotel and while waiting for car with the consignment, Rev Timothy Joshi came and reported to the victim that police got the information and started chasing the car to seize the “Mystery Box”. He narrated that he somehow managed to escape and reached the Hotel. However the car with the box and Bangladeshi occupants ran away due to the fear of police.
Rev. Timothy Joshi even acted “fainted” in front of the victim while narrating the incident. The scammers further pestered the victim for more payment of 1 crore to recover the “Mystery Box”, however the victim expressed her inability to pay the money.
Realizing that all is not well with the deal, the victim returned home dejected and scammed by the Reverand and his cohorts. After reaching Nagaland, she requested to refund her money back from Rev. Timothy Joshi and his partners but the scammers avoided her by switching off all their mobile phones and changing their contact numbers and finally disappeared. Accordingly, FIR was filed and East Police Station team earnestly investigated the case relying on digital communication evidences and traced the location of the accused to Khantibhita (Darjelling), where he was arrested and produced before Dimapur Court.
The modus operandi of this scam was that Rev. Timothy Joshua alias Joshi taking advantage of his status as a respectable Christian priest lures gullible believers into various types of frauds and scams masterminded by him.
Interestingly, Rev. Timothy Joshi’s father was also a Reverend and his brothers were also actively involved in church ministry. It is also learnt that he and his brothers had been involved in several scams such as land deals, real estate, fake gold bars, etc., of which the victims were mostly from North Eastern States and had been duped and defrauded. Preliminary investigation revealed that the “Mystery Box” was nothing but an empty box which was made solely to deceive the victim.
Dimapur police has cautioned the pubic to be aware of the prevalence of such scams and take utmost precaution on any kind of business deals and investments which promises huge returns and stay guarded against any lure or attempt from such fraudsters/conman.
In this connection, a case has been registered in East Police Station and investigation ongoing.
(Page News Service)