A group of fraudsters, termed the ‘Kaun Banega Crorepati gang,’ which has been cheating people on the pretext of winning a bumper cash prize, has struck again.
After a Jacob Circle resident was cheated last month, two more residents have approached the police, claiming to have lost a combined Rs6.6 lakh. And a probe in the case has revealed that the gang of cheats has been making the calls from an unidentified location in Pakistan.
Two women, Neeta Michael Lopez, 42, and Sunita Thombre, recently registered complaints with the Malabar Hill police station stating they had received phone calls from executives of the quiz show Kaun Banega Crorepati. They were told that their phone numbers had been selected in a lucky draw and that they had won Rs25 lakh, police said. The ‘executives’ then made the women deposit money in a number of different bank accounts on grounds of taxes and transfer charges.
Lopez in her complaint said that three people, Surender Sardar Singh, Rana Pratap Singh and Raj Malhotra, had spoken to her over the phone. “In the first few calls, the accused would congratulate the victims for winning the bumper prize. It was only later that they asked the victims to deposit the money,” said an officer from the Malabar Hill police station.
Police said Lopez, who is poor, mortgaged her gold and borrowed money from relatives to make up the deposit amount of Rs5.5 lakh. She then deposited the money into five accounts of a nationalised bank at Napean Sea Road.
To avoid suspicion, the gang shared the details of another ‘lucky winner,’ who Lopez could contact to verify their authenticity. “When Lopez called the number, she was told by one Aarti that she had received the prize money after depositing money as procedural expenses,” another officer said.
It was only after Lopez learnt of the incident involving Thombre did she approach the police. Thombre had lost Rs1.01 lakh. The Malabar Hill police registered a case of cheating. “We learnt that the calls had been made from Pakistan,” said sub-inspector Laxman Pawar of Malabar Hill police station.