The lure of easy money let a councillor of Kharar fall into a trap laid by two Nigerian nationals, and he ended up losing Rs 97 lakh to the fraudsters in the process. Acting on a complaint, police have now arrested 37-year-old Mike Johnson and 35- year-old Franco Anderson on charges of cheating (Section 420) and criminal breach of trust (406) of the Indian penal code.
The duo has been remanded in two-day police custody by a local court.
In his police complaint, Kharar municipal council member Himmat Singh said that his daughter, who studies in Delhi, received SMS and mail regarding participation in a contest to win one million dollars. His daughter was subsequently told that she had won the contest, after which she gave her house address to the fraudsters for delivery of the reward money.
In March, the two Nigerians arrived at his home with a safe with a digital lock and told him that it contained the money won by his daughter.
The Nigerians also informed him that the currency won by his daughter came with a security seal and thus had to be removed, for which he was asked to deposit Rs 4.10 lakh in a bank account provided by them.
After a few days, the duo approached him again and said that they needed to source a chemical from overseas for which he was asked to deposit Rs 30 lakh more in the bank account.
Himmat deposited about Rs 97 lakh in accounts at Axis Bank and ICICI Bank in about 15 occasions but still they did not open the safe.
Suspecting foul play, Himmat and his family broke open the safe, only to find wads of waste paper each covered on both sides by fake currency notes.
Police then nabbed the Nigerians when they visited his house on Friday night.
"The case was registered on June 23, and court has remanded them in two-day police custody. We have got hold of receipts of about Rs 97 lakh deposited by the complainant," said Yogi Raj, SHO police station Kharar.
"We will probe the accounts in which the money was deposited. People should also take such lucrative offers with a pinch of salt and refrain from falling into such traps," said SAS Nagar SSP Gurpreet Singh Bhullar.