Even as the police are yet to make any major breakthrough in the BPO credit card fraud case, HT has managed to speak exclusively to the prime accused, a system engineer at Infosys, who is in Bhubaneswar, Odisha, at present.
Claiming to be unaware of any police probe, Neelabh Shankar levelled counter allegations against former Convergys executive Arti Gupta, saying she trapped and forced him into committing the fraud.
Speaking to HT earlier, Gupta had claimed that she hailed from a lower middle-class family and was wooed by Shankar to procure credit card details of Australian clients and it was he who made all the online purchases. According to the police, a total of eight Australians were duped of more than Rs 10 lakh.
After Gupta played victim, it was turn of Shankar as he claimed innocence and presented his side of the story.
“I spoke with Arti for the first time on March 5 last year on a wrong number. I was trying to call my sister but I dialed her number by mistake. We soon became phone friends and got involved in a relationship. She told me that she was a BPO owner and runs a travel agency too,” Shankar told HT over phone.
He further claimed that she paid for the flight tickets for him to come to Delhi and meet her. “She sent me one credit card number saying it belonged to her uncle who had given it to her. She asked me to get the tickets booked from travel portal MakeMyTrip.com. I came to Delhi on July 13 and checked in to The Metropolitan hotel for three days. She stayed with me on the first day," he alleged.
“Arti told me she had booked the best taxi for us to go sightseeing and wanted me to feel like a king. The stay was nice and went around in a Honda Accord. The cab bill was Rs 45,000. She spent lavishly on me,” Shankar said.
“Everything was going on smoothly and I again planned to visit Delhi to meet her. This time, she gave me another card number of one Ronny Liav, saying he was her uncle’s friend and I booked the ticket to Delhi. I was shocked when I got a call from Neha Malhotra of Make MyTrip.com,” the accused said.
“She asked me whose credit card I was using to purchase tickets as she had a complaint. I immediately contacted Arti but she did not take my call so I told Malhotra that I got the number from Arti and the card belonged to her uncle’s friend,” Shankar added.
Shankar claimed that they never met after that and he had confronted her when he suspected that she had concocted a false story regarding her family background and profession.
Meanwhile, DCP (Crime) Maheshwar Dayal said, “We will solve the case and the main culprit will be arrested soon.”