Noida man held in ₹150 crore scam case
A 40-year-old owner of a Noida-based telecom company dealing in international SIM cards and internet data packs has been arrested in connection with the case in which over half a million people were duped of over Rs150 crore over months through an online multilevel marketing (MLM) racket floated allegedly by some Chinese citizens in connivance with their Indian counterparts, police said on Thursday.
Satyendra Singh, owner of SG Telecom company, was arrested from Noida Sector-62 on Wednesday for allegedly supplying 27 pre-activated Indian SIM cards to the masterminds of syndicate based in China (Chinese nationals), investigators said.
Some SIM cards were later sent back to India for being used by Indians who were involved in the scam. These SIM cards were used to contact investors and lure them into investing money through two “malicious mobile applications”, Power Bank and EZPlan that offered to double investments in 24-35 days, said a senior cyber cell unit (CyPAD) official associated with the investigation, asking not to be named.
“Singh activated all the SIM cards in the names of his employees and illegally exported them to China to be used by Chinese nationals who later dispatched some of the chips to their Indian counterparts. The SIM cards were used in duping the investors through the mobile applications and to contact them. Singh was arrested following investigation into the case and arrest of those who possessed the SIM cards,” the officer said.
HT tried to contact SG Telecom company for a comment on Singh’s arrest and the charges under which he was caught but mobile phone number mentioned on the company’s website was switched off or not reachable. An email sent to the address mentioned on the company’s website did not elicit a response.
Police said Singh is the twelfth person who has been arrested in the case even as investigation is still on. Between June 2 and June 9, the CyPAD unit arrested 11 persons, including a Tibetan woman and two chartered accountants (CAs), following multiple searches in Delhi-NCR, and West Bengal. The footprint of the syndicate was confirmed in West Bengal, Delhi-NCR, Bengaluru, Odisha, Assam, and Surat, the police said.
Nearly ₹11 crore accumulated by the group was blocked in various bank accounts and online payment gateways that were being operated by the members of the syndicate based in India and China.
Around ₹97 lakh was recovered from two arrested chartered accountants, one of whom has been identified as Avik Kedia, who formed over 110 shell companies for Chinese fraudsters to route the money through multiple bank accounts, deputy commissioner of police (cyber crime cell, CyPAD) Anyesh Roy said.
Roy said officials from the Cyber Prevention, Awareness & Detection Centre (CyPAD) recently came across several social media posts by people from across the country regarding mobile apps Power Bank and EZPlan that offered to double investments in 24-35 days.The apps also offered returns on an hourly and daily basis and had investment options starting from ₹300 and going up to several lakhs.
The Power Bank app was available on Google Play Store, while EZPlan app was available on the website www.ezplan.in.