Mumbai cyber police bust major online racket that duped 250K people nationwide
Over the past week, the city’s cybercrime police station has arrested four men for carrying out online fraud worth ₹4 crore and duping more than 250,000 people from across the country.
The arrested accused are part of a gang that had created unauthorised mobile apps and websites using fake identification numbers.
On the pretext of sanctioning loans under schemes named to resemble schemes launched by the Prime Minister, the accused lured people to pay processing fees. The online fraud came to light when Pune resident Suraj Sawle filed a complaint at the Mumbai cyber crime police station in January, saying unknown people were threatening him over the phone and demanding refunds.
The police probe found that Sawle’s mobile number had been used by the accused on five fake mobile apps — named Pradhan Mantri Yojana Loan, PM Loan Yojana, PMYL Loan and Sarvottam Finance Loan Service — which promised loans with low rates of interest.
In the name of loan processing fees, the fraudsters charged applicants ₹900 and ₹3,000 in two phases and then cut off all communication with them, said the police.
Accused Sanjeev Kumar Singh, 36, was arrested on February 15 in Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh while Pranjul Rathore, 27; Ramnivas Kumawat, 25; and Vivek Sharma, 42, were arrested in Jaipur on February 18. The arrested accused have been booked under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Information Technology (IT) Act.
Police have seized 18 mobile phones, 10 hard discs, three routers and a pen drive from the gang’s offices in Aligarh and Jaipur. “The fraudsters had featured a photograph of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the national emblem on the app and as a result, over 279,000 people registered for loans, and many paid the processing fees,” said Dr Rashmi Karandikar, deputy commissioner of police (cyber).
The accused made the fake apps and three fake websites, which they created using fake Aadhaar cards, voters’ identity and PAN cards. Karandikar said that in order to carry out the online fraud, call centres were set up in Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh, and Jaipur, Rajasthan.
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