Tripura Village Women Help Cops Find Fraudster Who Scammed SHGs

Agartala: A shrewd approach by Women Self-Help Groups (SHGs) helped police arrest a fraudulent woman accused of deceiving gullible villagers by promising high returns. She later fled her village with the money collected to evade reimbursement, police said.

The accused woman, Aseema Bhowmik, a resident of Atisa village which falls within the boundaries of Puran Rajbari police station in Belonia, allegedly borrowed a huge amount of money from different groups of mainly female-run SHGs with a promise of high yields.

One fine morning, she fled the village and despite repeated attempts, she could not be found. After months, the duped villagers learned that she was staying in Kolkata. They established contact with the woman and lured her with lucrative offers.

Driven by her weakness for money, the accused lands on the MBB Agartala Airport Saturday and the locals took her by force to the village. She was held captive for hours by the residents of Panchayat Samiti’s office.

After being informed, the local development officer of the block as well as the officer in charge of PR Bari reached the place but failed to appease the crowd of angry women.

About a thousand women gathered in the area and administrative officials were barred from entering the premises. Later, reinforcements were called in and she was arrested with the help of female cops. On Sunday, she was brought before the Court and then benefited from a day of police custody.

Police said the accused borrowed money from 15 prominent self-help groups in the area.

“She raised Rs 21 lakh as a loan in three months with a commitment of high interest rates. But, all of a sudden, she left her house. Locals later visited his parents’ house at Melaghar in Sepahijala district of Tripura. They learned that after a brief stay there, the accused woman had left for Calcutta,” police said.

According to the police, a case has been registered against her under Sections 420 and 406 of the Indian Penal Code at PR Bari Police Station.

“The cheated SHG members then tricked her into coming back and after that she was brought to the village. An investigation is ongoing in the matter,” the police said.

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