A day after HT reported about the plight of a 42-year-old Andheri resident, who was struggling to get her complaint registered with the police, the DN Nagar police on Monday called up the woman and took her FIR.
The woman had lost Rs 4.35 lakh to online fraudsters this year.
The DN Nagar police have registered a cheating case against two persons: Maxwell Leonard, who posed as a London-based medical director of Shell Company, and one Isthar, who claimed to be a customs clearing agent based in India.
Before the HT report, Puri had shot off an email to joint commissioner of police (crime) Atulchandra Kulkarni, requesting a probe into the matter. The joint CP’s office asked her to approach the cyber police station at Bandra Kurla Complex. When she did so, the officers there referred her to the local police station- the DN Nagar police station, where the officials were reluctant to lodge a complaint.
Following HT’s report on Monday, the BKC cyber police station got the DN Nagar police to register Puri’s FIR.
Puri said, “The police have shown a lack of sensitivity in dealing with me. I committed a mistake out of ignorance and under emotional blackmail. The police should not harass citizens, they should help them. I am not worried about my money, I am worried that because of the delay in initiating action, these fraudsters may have duped many other people.”
The police have not, however, invoked the Information Technology Act in the case. When HT called and messaged deputy commissioner of police (Zone 9) Satyanarayan Chaudhary, he did not respond to queries for information.
The complainant Sadhana Puri (name changed) had received a friend request on Facebook from Leonard in June. She did not doubt his intentions. During a Facebook chat with her, Leonard told her that he was sending her gifts.
In July, Puri received calls from Isthar, who claimed to be a customs clearing agent, as well as persons claiming to be Reserve Bank of India (RBI) officials and airport officials from Delhi’s IGI Airport. These persons told Puri that an overseas parcel, containing $15,000 in cash, diamond and gold jewellery, and a laptop, an iPhone besides other items, had come in her name.
Puri was made to deposit money in various bank accounts by way of ‘airport charges’, and ‘currency conversion charges’. Moreover, she was threatened that she would be booked for money laundering if she did not pay for the parcel.
When she contacted the RBI office in Delhi for a clarification, she came to know about the fraud, and contacted the police.