A Pakistan-based syndicate is suspected to have duped hundreds of unsuspecting victims in various states via a fake lottery scheme with the help of phone calls and some Indian accomplices, according to the preliminary findings of an Enforcement Directorate (ED) probe.
The racket was first detected several months ago by two of the country’s intelligence agencies. Till ED took up the probe, it was being carried out by a few state police agencies and five alleged Indian accomplices were arrested in Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Uttarakhand since 2014.
The racket’s modus operandi was effective: A Pakistani syndicate member would contact an Indian person using a Pakistani phone number and inform he/she had won a lottery. The recipient of the call was then asked to deposit collection and processing charges into a designated bank account to claim the lottery amount. An Indian accomplice would hire the bank account by paying a rent to its unsuspecting owner. The deposited collection and processing charges were taken out and transmitted to Pakistan through hawala channels via United Arab Emirates, said the source.
“Three gangs, which were being controlled by the Pak-based handlers, were busted in Uttarakhand, Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh with the arrest of five men. Interrogation of one of the arrested accused revealed Akram’s name,” said a police source.
The source said, “We may take help of Interpol to seek details on men suspected to be running the racket from Pakistani authorities, including Akram and Nazir on whom not much is known yet.”