Conned into paying money, how to proceed?
Sir i was conned by a woman for almost 30 lakhs. i borrowed this money from many of my friends, relatives etc... who wanted to make a little extra money. The lady who took this money promised us saying that she was getting cars and two wheeler for almost 40% to 50% cheaper. The only catch was that we had to wait for a couple of days and sometimes weeks for the same to be released. The mode of payment was always and ONLY HARD cash. They never entertained chqs/DD's etc... Initially, just to gain our confidence, she released a few two wheeler. After that, we fell flat and just started investing without even knowing where this was leading. Now we have reached to a state where we have no proof of giving that money by any form of writing but LUCKILY saved our call conversations which can be provided if demanded. Please advise how to go about this...
You have a valid contract with this woman as per S. 10 of the Indian Contracts Act, 1872. As per this provision, 3 elements are essential for a valid contract-
1. Free consent. The agreement between you can the woman was out of free content, without any kind of coercion.
2. Lawful consideration. The 30 lakhs paid by you acts as the lawful consideration in this case (proved by the conversation saved by you).
3. Lawful object. The object of the contract, sale of cars and two wheelers at cheaper rates, is lawful in nature.
Hence, in this case the agreement between you and the woman forms a legal contract.
Now, under S. 17(3) of The Act, ‘fraud’ includes ‘a promise made without intention of performing’. In this case, the woman promised to sell cars and two wheelers at cheap rates, without any intention of actually providing them for the worth of 30 lakhs paid by you as consideration for this promise. Hence, the woman’s act can be classified as ‘fraud’ under S. 17 of The Act. By this fraudulent act, the woman has broken the contract, causing you suffering. Under S. 73 of The Act, you are thus, entitled to receive, from the woman, compensation for the damage caused out of this breach of contract. For compensation of damage under this ground, you can hence, file a civil suit in a District Civil Court. Any civil court, having the jurisdiction to your case, would try your case under S. 9 of the Civil Procedure Code, 1908. In this case the jurisdiction of court would mainly be determined by two factors-
Territorial jurisdiction, i.e., cases within the geographical territory of a particular court.
Pecuniary jurisdiction, i.e., monetary value or compensation amount of cases within the set limit of a particular court.
The jurisdiction of District Courts depends upon the concerned State.
However, if you wish to initiate a criminal case against the woman, you can approach the Sessions Court under S. 415 and S. 418 of Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC):
1. The woman can be held liable for ‘cheating’ under S. 415 of IPC as she has fraudulently induced you to buy and pay for the cars and two wheelers.
2. As per S. 418 of IPC, the woman may be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both, as she had the knowledge that she is likely to cause wrongful loss to you by cheating you in the said transaction.
By initiating a criminal case, you can demand for punishment of the woman, but you would not be liable for compensation for the damage caused, which is present only in civil suits.
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