They mired him into a web of deceit — replete with mysterious tales of a dying British benefactor — for more than two years before the east Delhi-based executive got wind of their actual plan.
Two years after Aashutosh Kumar, a resident of Mayur Vihar, made the mistake of believing a phoney text message declaring him the sole winner of $500,000, he has nothing but a stack of bogus winning certificates and a bank account lighter by R2.16 lakh.
"In September 2009, I got an SMS saying I had won the Shell Petroleum Mobile Draw and that a foreign bank's diplomat would hand the money over to me as soon as I completed some paperwork," Kumar said.
The 'paperwork' included bogus remittance certificates and applications from the Natwest Bank and Shell Petroleum Development Company of England advising him to deposit money in one account or the other.
Apart from fake 'Winning Certificates' from the head of the 'Lottery Team' at Shell, Kumar was also sent deposit certificates issued from the RBI and signed by the executive director of RBI's Central Public Information branch.
"I kept depositing money as per their directions but later realised they were fooling me when they asked for Rs 2.5 lakh to pay as bribe to the customs clearance department and immigration police," said Kumar.
After attempts to get a criminal case registered at the Economic Offences Wing of the Delhi Police failed, Kumar went directly to the CBI. "But the CBI merely forwarded my complaint to the Delhi Police which is yet to get in contact me. On the other hand, the gang that cheated me still keeps in touch," Kumar added.