Web of Lies, Deceit Alleged

  Victims of alleged rapist and fugitive Avinesh Kumar Raj have warned that the sleek talker is dangerous. They have described him as a master of deception who has the
14 Sep 2016 09:42
Web of Lies, Deceit Alleged
The suspect, Avinesh Kumar Raj, has been using Facebook to lure his victims. Photo: Ronald Kumar


Victims of alleged rapist and fugitive Avinesh Kumar Raj have warned that the sleek talker is dangerous.

They have described him as a master of deception who has the gift of the gab, a compulsive liar and a sexual predator.

Raj, also known as Vinesh, is alleged to prey on unsuspecting and vulnerable women at random who suit his fancy.

Three incidents were reported to Police as alleged rape.  It is believed that there were other sexual encounters but it is unclear whether they could be classified as rape.

One victim only reported him to the Police after she discovered that Raj was on the Police Crime Stoppers Wanted List published in the Fiji Sun.

Victims spoke to the Fiji Sun yesterday on the condition of anonymity because they feared for their safety.

But one woman, Shayal Shandaya Chand, of Waituri, Nausori, who had a close encounter with Raj spoke out.

She said she was invited on Facebook by an Avinesh Raj and she accepted.

“At the time I did not know who he was. We had a friendly chat over a few days. On his profile, it said he lived in New Zealand and was a pilot,” Ms Chand, a salesgirl at a Nausori shop, said.

“A few days later, he showed up unannounced at my workplace. He was not the same man in the Facebook photo. He told me the pilot sent him and he was to make arrangements for their marriage,” he said

“I was afraid. He asked me for my mobile number but I refused. Then he threatened me. He accused me of stealing his money and a laptop. He then left and went to other shops, showing my picture and saying that I stole from him.”

Ms Chand told her mother and they reported the matter to Police.

At the time she did not know that Raj was on the Wanted List. She only found out when the victim in Nanuku Settlement, Vatuwaqa, called her.

She told Ms Chand that she found her number in a piece of paper that fell from Raj’s pocket during his arrest on August 30 at Nanuku following a sting operation involving the woman and some men from the neighbourhood. The woman warned Ms Chand to beware of Raj as he was the same man who threatened her.

Raj was later admitted to St Giles Hospital in Suva for psychiatric observation. Last Friday he escaped and is still at large. This was the second time he had escaped from St Giles. The first was earlier this year.

He had been arrested for allegedly trying to rape a woman in a motel in Suva after luring her there through Facebook. That case is still pending in court.

News of his latest arrest and escape was followed with great interest by a Ba family which also fell victim to his activities.

Shakil Mohammed, 31, of Raviravi, Ba, a father of one, recalls the encounter in July this year with Raj. He said Raj had come to his home and asked for his phone to be charged.

“From there he started making excuses to stay with us and he lived with us for two weeks,” Mr Mohammed said.

According to Mr Mohammed, Raj told them he lived in Votualevu, in Nadi, and was married with two daughters, and was working for a Chinese company in Ba.

“He was buying snacks for my six year-old daughter during his two weeks stay with us. He was like a brother and we treated him just like a family member,” said Mr Mohammed’s wife.

“At this time we didn’t know that he was a wanted man from the Police until the woman from Vatuwaqa had identified Raj last month on the Crime Stoppers Wanted List, and made contact with us after his arrest,” she said.

“We were worried about our daughter’s safety and immediately called her school to warn the teachers about Avinesh.”

The family recalls that Avinesh would be on his phone most of the night chatting with girls and he would usually change his sim cards and he was wearing the same clothes during his two weeks stay with them.

“Avinesh stole $450 cash the last day he stayed with us and when we tried to call him, he was ignoring our calls and even blocked me from Facebook and that was the last time we heard from him,” Mr Mohammed said.

He said the family was living in fear now because Avinesh was on the loose.

On August 23, at Suvavou House, Raj met the Nanuku woman after chatting on Facebook. There he introduced himself as Krishneel Prasad, a lawyer working for Ram’s Law in Nadi.

On August 24, Raj visited the woman at her home dressed up like a lawyer. He had asked for money from her regarding some legal issues.

It was after that encounter that she recognised him on the Wanted List in the Fiji Sun and reported him to the Police. Subsequently, he was arrested in a sting operation, featuring the woman.

The real Krishneel Prasad yesterday broke his silence for the first time. He expressed his deep and serious concern about the damage that Raj had caused him and others.

“It has become a national concern. If a person on a Wanted List for rape has been impersonating me and meeting people – that is not safe for the community at all! He is a smart and clever player and he seems to have chosen his targets after careful study.

“It is the harm he has already caused to many and the potential harm he may now cause while on the run that is disappointing.”

Edited by Nemani Delaibatiki



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