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HindustanTimes Thu,23 Oct 2014

Online lottery, again! Woman held for Rs. 14-lakh fraud

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Panchkula, February 12, 2014
First Published: 00:51 IST(12/2/2014) | Last Updated: 00:52 IST(12/2/2014)

The police here have nabbed a woman allegedly belonging to an "international gang" involved in online lottery frauds, on a complaint filed in April last year by a Baltana resident who had deposited Rs. 14 lakh in 33 bank accounts in the false hope of getting a Rs. 3.6-crore prize.

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Complainant Bhupinder Singh Dheer had alleged that he had received an email that he had won a lottery of Rs. 3.6 crore. As he replied with his details, he got phone calls telling him to deposit Rs. 14 lakh as "tax". He complied, but did not receive any prize. As he called on the number from which he had been receiving instructions, it was found switched off, and then he filed the complaint that led to an FIR on April 21, 2013, under sections 420 (cheating) and 406 (for criminal breach of trust) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) at the Sector-5 police station in Panchkula.

The accounts in which the money was deposited - the fraudsters told him the money was needed as "tax" to convert international currency into Indian rupees - were traced to Manipur, Mumbai, Jaipur and Phagwara near Jalandhar. Police reached Phagwara and found that the account-holder was a woman named Satya Devi, who told the cops that it was opened by Jyoti Rana in her name as Rana needed help to go to Malaysia. On Rana's trail, police reached Tihar Jail in Delhi, where she was lodged for another offence.

The economic offences wing of the Panchkula police formally arrested Rana, who also used the name Nisha Sharma, a resident of Delhi, on February 10 and brought her here on production warrants. Ajay Singhal, commissioner of police, Ambala-Panchkula, said the woman and her gang used to dupe several people, and the roots of the gang were "suspected to be in Nigeria".

|On Tuesday, she was produced before a local court that remanded her to four-day police custody. "She has some accomplices who are yet to be arrested. Investigations are on," said deputy commissioner of police (DCP), Panchkula, Ashwin Shenvi.

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