Jammu, Nov 12 (PTI) A three-member gang of interstate fraudsters were arrested Monday for fleecing people on the pretext of having magical powers to cure life-consuming diseases in Udhampur district of Jammu and Kashmir, a senior police officer said. About Rs 12.03 lakhs and stolen jewellery worth Rs 60,000 were recovered from the self-styled ‘tantrics’, while their bank accounts containing Rs 4 lakh were frozen, senior superintendent of police, Udhampur, Rayees Mohammad Bhat said. He identified the accused as Maan Singh from Utter Pradesh, Gouri Devi from Madhya Pradesh and Sachwinder Singh from Punjab and said police acted after getting reliable information about fraudulent activities of a gang some time back. A case was registered under various sections of the Ranbir Penal code and a special police team was formed to bust the gang, the SSP said, adding that police, during investigation, succeeded in identifying the victims.

“A massive hunt was launched to nab the fraudsters by utilising human and technical intelligence and raids were conducted in various suspected locations which ultimately led to the arrest of the accused red handed,” the officer said. He said the modus operandi of these fraudsters was that they used to gain entry in a house on the pretext of being ‘tantric’ who can cure various diseases especially terminal illness with their magical power.

“Soon after entering the house in this way, they used to befool the house owners by claiming that some hidden treasure or wealth is present in the house which they can trace after performing some special kind of prayers,” he said.

Accordingly, the SSP said they used to collect money from the house owners for prayers so that the hidden wealth could be extracted and shifted in the household utensils by way of rituals. “Besides, Maan Singh, the leader of the gang, used to utilise many other ways which included fasting, performing rituals along with family members and sometimes alone inside the house keeping all the family members out of the house thereby committing thefts with a free hand,” he said.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.