Renowned poet faces ‘digital house arrest’ at the hands of cybercrooks - Hindustan Times
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Renowned poet faces ‘digital house arrest’ at the hands of cybercrooks

Jul 10, 2024 07:32 AM IST

The thugs, who snared the poet after frightening him with possible arrest in a money-laundering case, listened to his poetry for hours and appreciated it

.LUCKNOW: The digital world is moving faster with each passing day and so are cybercrooks who use every trick in the box to snare victims. In the latest trend, ‘poetophile’ cyberheist operators posing as CBI officers ‘virtually’ confined a famous city-based progressive writer and poet Naresh Saxena to his room for six long hours. The scammers who aimed to con the elderly writer by frightening him with arrest in a money-laundering case, listened to his poetry for hours, even asking him to recite couplets of Mirza Ghalib and Faiz and praising his poems a lot. Luckily, after six hours of this ‘digital house arrest’ through a video call, alarmed family members intervened so that the cyber thugs failed to pull off the crime.

The poet fears that the cyber con men may misuse his video that they recorded for six hours. (Pic for representation)
The poet fears that the cyber con men may misuse his video that they recorded for six hours. (Pic for representation)

The writer later filed a complaint in Gomtinagar police station on July 7.

As per reports, on July 7, at 3 in the afternoon, the writer was about to leave for a poetic session when he got a video call on his mobile phone. The man on the other side asked the writer if he had lost his Aadhar card.

“He then informed me that someone had opened an account in Mumbai using it, a money laundering case of crores had taken place through it and a case had been registered in a Mumbai police station,” said. “Then he introduced himself as CBI inspector Rohan Sharma and said that an arrest warrant had been issued against me. But as I was an elderly person and seemed to be a good man he would try to get me released soon if I cooperated in the investigation. Otherwise, I might face a long jail term,” Saxena revealed in a post on FB.

The man then also verified the writer’s Aadhar card and asked questions pertaing to the number of bank accounts he had, the amount of money in them, the number of transactions, investments, income and income tax returns . “I was able to see the man’s police uniform and a cap which convinced me ,” said Saxena.

“As soon as he saw my room full of books, to ensure that I was the right person and the same poet he had called, he asked me to prove myself by reciting poetry . He asked me to recite the couplets of Mirza Ghalib and Faiz Ahmed Faiz. He even asked me to recite my own poems which I did. He listened to my poems for a long time and even praised me a lot,” the writer said, informing that all this went on for 6 hours. The video call session started at 3 pm and went on till 7-8 pm, with the caller telling him that he was a poetry lover .

The conman then told him that the CBI chief of Mumbai would talk to him. To convince Saxena furher, he told the ‘chief’ ( perhaps his cohort) that Saxena was a very good man and the ‘chief’ should also listen to his poems. He should be investigated on priority and be let off within 24 hours.

“The ‘chief’ said that that since I was cooperating in the investigation, he would get me released within 24 hours and told me that I was currently under house arrest,” said Saxena.

The men then told him to close the door of his room and not inform his family members, while remaining in front of them on the video call. They also asked the writer to put his mobile phone on charging to not run out of battery, to not answer any phone call and tell family members to not disturb him for 24 hours as this was a matter of national security, said the writer in his FB post.

But when Saxena did not open his door for a long time, the family was alarmed. Sensing that he was being tricked through a cyber fraud, his daughter-in-law immediately intervened. Despite the conmen’s threats that everyone would be arrested, she snatched the phone and told them to do whatever they wanted.

“The men have recorded my video for 6 hours and can misuse it in many ways,” feared Saxena.

The Gomtinagar police were unavailable for comment.

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