The Man who sold Tajmahal thrice.

Would you believe in the skim that offers you the purchase of The Taj Mahal, although it may seem hard to believe today only a few decades ago there was a man who with ignitions mind and cunning forms sold inconceivable dreams in the form of Taj Mahal and really tricked people in believing in it, Not once not twice but thrice to foreigners? He not only sold the Taj Mahal, but he also sold Red fort twice, sold the Rashtrapati Bhavan once and even sold the Indian Parliament along with its seating members.

Mithilesh Kumar Shrivastava also known as Mr Natwarlal

This genius is none other than India’s biggest conman Mr Mithilesh Kumar Shrivastava famously known as Mr Natwarlal. Natwarlal was older of two sons in his family. His father was a rich Zamindar from north Bihar. Even Bollywood got inspired by him and made two movies on ‘Mr Natwarlal’ starring Amitabh Bacchan and ‘Raja Natwarlal’ Starring Imran Hashmi and Paresh Rawal. He was a lawyer by profession before becoming conman. He realized that he had the skill to replicate perfect signatures. In the world, without pin and passwords, the signature certainly worked. In addition, he had cheated many merchants with thousands of rupees by paying in cheque and money orders, which were later discovered to be fake.

In the 1950s and 1960s, Natwarlal went across India and performed multiple con jobs where he cheated jewellers, bankers and many traders. What made him unique was his meticulous planning for every con job with every minor detail accounted for. This included perfectly forged documents, lavish housing, and luxury lifestyles.

He was a master of Disguise and had more than 50 nicknames. He even falsified the signature of the first president of India Dr Rajendra Prasad and sell monument. His list of victims includes industrialist such as Tata’s, The Birla’s and also the famous Dhirubhai Ambani. He used to impersonate a government official and trick foreign tourist by selling them famous Indian monuments. It is known that he repeatedly sold Tajmahal, Red fort and even Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Once he posed as D.N. Tiwari, who was the personal assistant to the then Union finance minister N. D. Tiwari, he went to a watch dealer in Connaught Place in New Delhi and told the owner that he was looking for watches as presents for the members of Congress Parliamentary Party. He told the proprietor to pack 93 watches the next day and said that he would issue a bank draft against it. He later gave a forged demand draft which owner realized only after two days. Natwarlal had an extensive knowledge of banking and stockbroking which really helped him in his small heists.

Arrests and Escapes

In one of the incidents, Natwarlal escaped from prison by dressing as police inspector after stealing a policemen’s uniform. He managed to open the prison door by bribing the guard of his cell then he took a taxi and vanished in thin air.

He had thousand accused cases and was wanted by police in 8 Indian states. He was arrested 9 times but each time he managed to escape. The last notable escape he made was at the age of 84 at the New Delhi train station while police escorted him from Kanpur prison to AIIMS in Delhi. The data was June 24 1996, after which they never saw him again.


Like his life, his death is also a mystery. While his lawyers claim he died on July 25th 2009. His brother GangaPrasad Shrivastav claimed to have cremated him in 1996 in Ranchi.

He actually liked to portray himself as a modern era Robin Hood and loved to claim that he robbed only from rich and gave the money back to poor. He said to have believed that he was on some divine mission. He never kept his wealth secret. His daring acts can really be compared with some of the most notorious criminals like Frank Abagnale and Victor Lustig.  

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