A list of the most sought after locations in Bengaluru would be incomplete without Koramangala. While on the one hand it offers various residential options for a growing city, it is also home to long time residents and their posh bungalows with lush green gardens.
But now there’s an unsavoury element to this area. For the past few weeks, some of the residents in Koramangala have been complaining of an unusual series of incidents. “Two people, Nagaraja Reddy and his associate Raja, are introducing themselves as professional gardeners on contract with the BBMP. They induce residents to get manure from them and re-potting done but do not complete the work and run away with the money given to them for materials,” says Gurudas Sivadas, a resident and a member of ‘Koramangala Initiative’ and ‘Save Koramangala’.
Sivadas adds that these men claim that they take care of the garden of politician Shivakumar and other well known people, to gain the confidence of the people. “They even display visiting cards of several dignitaries,” he says. Sivadas is not the only one who has been duped. Sajai Paul, another resident, says, “I too got swindled by one Nagaraju on 29th December last year. He took an advance payment from me and went to get manure for my lawn but never came back.” Paul has filed a complaint at the Vivek Nagar police station.
“Despite making numerous rounds to the police station and meeting Sub Inspector (SI) Puneet Kumar personally, and subsequently calling him up, the police was reluctant to trace the address of the accused and no action has been taken,” says Paul.
Despite this, Paul did not let go of the issue. “I dialled Nagaraju’s mobile number (9242060472) before I handed him Rs 2,500 (the next time he came home) and it rang in his pocket. When he didn’t turn up by 2 PM the same day as agreed, I called him many more times and he finally promised to come the next day.”
After this, Paul went to the police station again and SI Puneet Kumar spoke to Nagaraju, on phone in his presence. “All the SI could do was extract a promise from him (conman Nagaraju) that he would show up at my residence the same day which he didn’t.”
Sivadas experienced a disparity in mobile numbers and suspects that the accused Nagaraj might have many associates, with everybody owning a mobile phone. And people are given different mobile numbers to contact. “He first gave 9886772495 as his mobile number. For two days I was getting the message that the mobile is temporarily disconnected. When I accosted him on his next visit he gave another number (9886772494) which worked,” explains Sivadas.
He further says, “When I refused to believe his story and wanted to have no business with him, he promptly handed over the mobile to me till he brought the manure. He later took the mobile back from my wife and, in the ruse of getting red earth, vanished with the money.”
The conmen appear to have spread their net wide. Clara Radhakrishan, another victim, says, “We also got conned by this team some time ago, a sum of Rs.1500. They go around with some powder and tubes and tell us that they will give some injections whereby the plants will flower and become healthy.”
When asked for his comments, SI Puneet Kumar said, “We are on look out for the accused Nagaraju and his associates. From my side I spoke to him and warned him that he should stop this immediately.” On the issue of tracking their addresses using their mobile numbers, the SI has asked for some time.
Till the police find out about these conmen, residents with gardens should be alert. ⊕
This modus operandi has been in practice for many years in Bangalore.I live in Vijayanagar and I have been duped twice by two different conmen. Yes, they carry visiting cards to prove they work for some nurseries.They would leave behind their plastic bags saying they contain their tools and disappear with the money given for manure. The bags actually contain no tools. Once they brought some dark manure convincing me it is the best quality manure which later turned out to be charcoal mixed with sewage.One should beware of such people.