An Under-19 cricketer who could not find success in the field found his calling as con artist duping people under the pretext of being an IPL player, and one time even an India player. The name Mrinak Singh would not have ring any bells a month ago, and despite the fact that the former cricketer was lodged in jail in Mumbai in connection of another duping case there was not much interest around this failed cricketer. Not until the news broke of Indian international and Delhi Capitals captain Rishabh Pant being one of Mrinank’s victims.
The accused had offered Pant to get him expensive watches and mobile phones at a cheaper rate. However, the cricketer got duped for Rs 1.63 crore through a bounced cheque. To understand the entire matter, News18 Cricketnext had an exclusive conversation with Pant’s lawyer, Eklavya Dwivedi. The cricketer-turned-advocate described the timeline of events.
Here are the excerpts of the interview:
How and when did this entire episode, between Rishabh Pant and Mrinank Singh, start?
These two (Rishabh Pant and Mrinank Singh) have a long history, although not any kind of close acquaintance but they have known each other for a while. They met somewhere around 2013-14 in a domestic camp because I’m told that the accused used to play cricket at a junior level or something. And he often used that identity to fraud people and scam them.
They met in 2013-2014 and then there was a long gap after which Rishabh was approached by Mr Mrinank Singh in 2020 or 2021, saying that he started a new business in luxury items and he can procure the same at a very cheap price. He can even sell any of the luxury goods that are owned by Rishabh and get the latter high profit for the same.
So, this is how it all started and you know, Rishabh is a cricketer and has a soft spot for the people he knows. He trusted him and didn’t look into it too keenly. So, he thought that the matter will go ahead and he will get something from Mrinank.
Rishabh placed that order and remitted some funds from his bank account. He also gave Mrinank some articles to sell. Post which, the accused couldn’t deliver any of these goods to my client.
After that happened, both Rishabh and his manager were persistent. They kept on calling and messaging Mrinank, trying to ensure that the delivery takes place. But the latter kept on making excuses and he didn’t deliver any of the goods.
Subsequently, there was a mutual oral settlement they arrived at. On this oral settlement, Mr Mrinank Singh issued a cheque in favour of Rishabh for Rs 1.63 cr, which eventually bounced.
From the bank, the total remittances were about Rs 1.3 cr and some jewellery and watches were handed over (for selling) for around Rs 60 lakhs.
How did you proceed in this case?
In the last list of the matter, Mrinank Singh’s counsel told the Magistrate that this guy is behind the bars and there was some news which said he has conned some businessman in Mumbai and had been nabbed by the police over there. Although at that stage we couldn’t have done anything as he wasn’t present and the Magistrate ordered that if he is in jail then he should be connected from there itself at the next state of hearing.
But surprisingly, Rishabh’s manager has gotten calls from Mr Mrinank Singh in between all these. That seems to indicate that he’s not in jail or might be out on bail or something. And it’s hard to get the record of these trial court orders online, especially if it’s in a different jurisdiction.
So, I’ve not been able to pull out the same and I’m not sure if he is behind the bars or out on bail.
We filed a case under Section 138 of the negotiable instruments act, for the dishonour of the cheque and followed the due procedure. After that, the summons have been issued. A few hearings have taken place and we have also filed an application for interim compensation under Section 143 A which allows the Magistrate to grant us 20 per cent of the amount that has been issued.
In the interim, while the hearing is still going on, we have filed the application just to protect our interests. That application is pending and of course, 138 is going on and that is at the stage of recording the accused’s statement. Since he wasn’t present at the last hearing, the Magistrate issued an order to either do it virtually, if he’s in jail or if he’s out then he has to be there in the court on the date of the hearing which is July 19, 2022.
If proven guilty, what will be Mrinank looking at in terms of punishment?
In the beginning, when the notice of charges is framed, the accused was asked by the Magistrate if he pleads guilty or not guilty. At that stage, he’s already pleaded not guilty. But later, in his objection and denial statement, he accepted all the evidence that was put on record. So, that’s a foolhardy thing on his part to do. Ultimately, he has admitted whatever we have said, including the cheque that has been dishonoured.
It’s under CRPC now. The sentence that can be imposed on him is 2-years of imprisonment and double the amount of the fine.
All these factors – the money that was remitted, the kind of promises that were made, the cheque that has been bounced, his past history; now the bench is aware of the fact that he is a habitual offender and has scammed other people also. All these will be taken into account when the magistrate imposes the sentence.
Anyone else from the cricket fraternity who has been conned by Mrinank?
I don’t have an idea about that. Secondly, it will not be fare for me to comment because no one has approached me. It would be a bit arbitrary if I were to say anything about that.
Are you aware of any other case that involved Mrinank Singh?
Incidentally, I’ve also gotten a mail after the recent reports that came out. Somebody (Name not disclosed) from Dubai contacted me. Now just imagine the reach of this person and the number of scammed people.
He is a hotel manager in Dubai, who contacted me through email and send me some details. But there are serious charges involved in that. He scammed that hotel for about Rs 5-6 lakhs. He claimed over there that he was a Mumbai Indians player and was with the Indian team. He got his bookings done and later, he just left in the middle of the night, exploiting all the food, beverages and other amenities at the hotel.
Eklavya added, “I haven’t shared this with anyone. I’m still wondering how to go about it because it’s a different jurisdiction.”
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