Lured by the fictitious offer to win a lottery of Rs. 4.37 crore, a person hailing from Bilaspur in Himachal Pradesh was duped of Rs. 16.50 lakh, which he had collected after selling his land.
Acting on the complaint of Santosh Kumar from a village in Himachal Pradesh, the SAS Nagar police had arrested a 29-year-old Nigerian, Duglous alias David, from Kharar. The accused was remanded to a day in police custody by a local court on Thursday.
Kumar, employed at a mineral water packaging factory in Baddi, said that he had received a message on his mobile phone declaring that he had won a lottery of Rs. 4.37 crore; in order to receive the prize-money he was told to contact a particular phone number.
The complainant said that when he called up that number, he was told that the prize money was in foreign currency and was asked to deposit Rs. 16.50 lakh in a given bank account in order to receive the money.
"I deposited the amount and received a call from the accused Duglous, who identified himself as David. A meeting was fixed in Kharar where Douglas showed me a locked safe. From the safe he pulled out a paper and applied some chemical on it, telling me that it was a chemical that decodes the foreign currency," complained Kumar.
Kumar alleged that David had asked him to pay Rs. 26 lakh for a chemical that was needed to break the security code. It was then that Kumar had got suspicious and approached the police. Duglous was arrested.
"Duglous alias David is a Nigerian national, who had been staying in Delhi since 2009 on a student visa. He had come to strike the deal on February 12, 2013. He revealed that he was just a courier and was to get Rs. 20,000, had the deal matured," informed Gurpreet Singh Bhullar, SSP of SAS Nagar.
"We are also probing as to who all are involved in this scam, which operates from overseas. The people should take such lucrative offers with a pinch of salt and refrain from falling into such traps," advised Bhullar.
The police also recovered 9 bundles of paper, an iron safe, 2 mobile phones, a Nigerian passport and an identity card from Duglous. He was booked on charges of cheating and criminal breach of trust under Sections 420 and 406 of the Indian Penal Code.
In June 2012, the police had arrested two Nigerian nationals - 37-year-old Mike Johnson and 35-year-old Franco Anderson -- for duping a Kharar councillor in a similar fashion. Himant Singh, councillor of the municipal council of Kharar, had lost Rs. 97 lakh; his daughter was lured to participate in a contest to win one million dollars.