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MUMBAI: The Malad police have arrested a man who was cheating restaurants by pretending to be a health inspector The man was collecting samples of spices from restaurant owners, charging Rs 3,000 each for testing the samples until the restaurant owners suspected him to be a fraud and warned others through a WhatsApp group.

The accused identified as Dhawal Bhansali had been targeting restaurants around Malad by posing as an officer from Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI). He is suspected to have cheated at least five hotels so far.

Bhansali who claimed to be a food and health inspector with the central government would approach the restaurant manager and ask them to give him samples of chilli powder, turmeric powder and other spices used in their hotel fora test. He would make them fill up slake FSSAI form and charge Rs 3,000 from them. Bhansali told managers that the amount was the fees for testing the samples. One of the restaurant owners suspected Bhansali and then circulated his picture along with a message on the WhatsApp group other restaurant owners were a part of.

On Wednesday afternoon, Bhansali approached a popular restaurant on Malad SV Road. Accorcling to his modus operandi, he started collecting spice samples. While paying him the money, the restaurant manager remembered the ‘WhatsApp message’ and decided to alert the police.

The manager then asked Bhansali to have a seat while he offered him juice. Meanwhile, he alerted the police and Bhansali was taken into custody. When officials arrived at the restaurant, Bhansali continued playing his part and flashed his FSSAI card. After he was questioned, the police booked him for forgery and cheating.

“We have registered a case of forgery and cheating under sections of the Indian Penal Code,” said S Mahadik, senior inspector at Malad police station. The police have seized various identity cards including a driver’s license, a a university card and a voters ID. The police will ascertain if the other cards are also forged.

Source: Hindustan Times

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