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‘Food inspector’ who charged restaurants in Malad Rs 3,000 for tests held

14,April, 2016

MUMBAI: An ‘engineer’ who posed as an officer with the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) and knocked out money from restaurant managements on the pretext of taking samples for testing was arrested at Malad on Wednesday. Dhaval Bhansali, the accused, was carrying a fake FSSAI identity card, besides a bogus Aadhaar card and driving licence. He has duped the managements of six Malad restaurants in the past fortnight.

Bhansali, a Borivali resident, would visit restaurants and introduce himself as food and health inspector Anil Rathod, working under the central government. He would tell the management that he needed to take samples of spices used for preparing food. He charged each restaurant Rs 3000 for sending these samples for tests. If they refused to pay the money, Bhansali would threaten to lodge a complaint.

"Bhansali never carried containers or vials to take the samples. This made restaurant managements suspicious. Those restaurateurs who had been conned decided to alert their friends in the same industry. On a WhatsApp group formed by suburban restaurateurs, a description of the conman was uploaded.

On Wednesday, Bhansali walked into Aditi restaurant on Malad SV Road and tried the same trick. The alert manager distracted him and informed the local police. Bhansali was hauled to the Malad police station where he was frisked. Several bank cards, business cards and cash was found on him. He was booked on charges of cheating based on a complaint filed by the management of Aditi restaurant. The police suspect Bhansali may have duped many other establishments in this manner.

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