Odisha EOW nabs cyber fraudster from Himachal Pradesh
Bhubaneswar: The Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of Odisha Police has arrested a cyber fraudster from Himachal Pradesh for his involvement in a pan-India courier fraud scam.
The accused along with other members of the racket used to impersonate authorities of various law enforcement agencies such as the police, Crime Branch, NCB, CBI etc. and trap the victims by saying that they have sent or received illegal articles like narcotics through courier. Later, the racket extracted huge amounts by threatening the victims of stringent legal action.
The arrested person has been identified as Rajat Kumar, a native of Yamuna Nagar district in Haryana. The EOW team arrested the accused from Sirmur district in Himachal Pradesh on February 4.
Kumar was arrested in connection with a case registered on the basis of a complaint lodged by a Bhubaneswar-based female journalist, Ratna Tripathy, on June 24, 2023.
“On June 19, 2023, Tripathy received a phone call (VoIP call) from a person who introduced himself as an employee of the courier agency FedEx, Hyderabad, and told her that a parcel containing six passports, one laptop, five ATM cards, and 150 gm narcotics had been sent to her which has been intercepted by the NCB Mumbai officials,” said EOW sources.
When she denied ordering any parcel, the caller asked her to come to the NCB Cell in Mumbai physically to prove her point or she could connect with a persons named Mr Gill, the purported head of NCB Mumbai, over Skype.
The caller also threatened Tripathy by saying that if she ignored the directives, she could be prosecuted under various charges like NDPS Act and money laundering.
A scared Tripathy soon connected to the Skype site of Mumbai NCB and a person identifying himself as Gill told her that a case of money laundering, narcotics smuggling and violation of crypto norms has been filed against her due to the ‘illegal’ transactions through her bank accounts.
They also falsely accused her of having links with a gangster, Islam Malik.
Later, another member of the racket, impersonating Balsing Rajput (IPS), DCP, Cyber Crime, showed her false document issued by the CBI and a letter with the seal of RBI that mentioned her involvement in money laundering.
He asked Tripathy to send around Rs 1.5 lakh to an account for verification if she wished to get out of the case. She was assured that the money would be returned to her account if she was found innocent.
Accordingly, Tripathy sent the money to the accused persons who soon went offline without returning the amount.
The EOW later found that the money sent from the accounts of Tripathy and her son-in-law had landed in the account of Jagadamba Enterprises in Punjab and the accused, Rajat Kumar, is the authorised signatory in the agency.
“It was also found that the scammers, in just 2-3 days, had extorted Rs 5.58 crore (from many victims across the country). The money was further transferred to different mule accounts and ultimately a major chunk of this amount was withdrawn from an ATM in Dubai,” EOW sources said.
The EOW also claimed to have got vital clues about the real masterminds of this scam and the fraudsters operating from Dubai.
The EOW had earlier freezed 17 incriminating bank accounts in connection with the case.