Patiala SSP Mandeep Singh Sidhu showing the 693 SIM cards recovered from the accused, who made 23 transactions over three days in Patiala MP Preneet Kaur’s account.(Bharat Bhushan / HT Photo)
Patiala SSP Mandeep Singh Sidhu showing the 693 SIM cards recovered from the accused, who made 23 transactions over three days in Patiala MP Preneet Kaur’s account.(Bharat Bhushan / HT Photo)

Two more held for duping Preneet Kaur, remanded to 8-day police custody

Another accused, Attaul Ansari, had been brought on transit remand from Ranchi police on Wednesday. The men held on Thursday are brothers -Afsar Ali and Noor Ali. A local court remanded all three to eight-day police custody on Thursday.
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh | By HT Correspondent, Patiala
PUBLISHED ON AUG 09, 2019 01:41 PM IST

Police on Thursday arrested two more men from Mandi Gobindgarh town in Fatehgarh Sahib district in a cyber crime case in which Preneet Kaur, Patiala MP and wife of Punjab chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh, was duped of Rs 23 lakh.

Another accused, Attaul Ansari, had been brought on transit remand from Ranchi police on Wednesday. The men held on Thursday are brothers -Afsar Ali and Noor Ali. A local court remanded all three to eight-day police custody on Thursday. Police said the amount was transferred in 28 e-wallets and accounts of Spice India Company, Gurugram, from Preneet’s State Bank of India account in 23 transactions. The company was only the service provider and had no connection with the fraud.

‘Committing fraud for 4 years’

SSP Mandeep Singh Sidhu said 693 SIM (subscriber identification module) cards and 19 mobile phones have been recovered from the accused. “During preliminary investigation, they confessed that they had been committing online frauds for the past four years. The accused also confessed that they were not aware of the fact that they had duped a parliamentarian this time,” the SSP added.

The police have also frozen the e-wallet accounts into which the money was transferred from the MP’s account. The MP got to know that Rs 23 lakh had been deducted from her State Bank of India (SBI) account on July 29.

“The accused had called the Patiala MP multiple times from July 24-26. We are looking for the kingpin of the gang and would grill the accused,” the SSP added.  

Registered mobile number with bank changed

Sidhu added that one of the accused introduced himself as a State Bank of India (SBI) manager and told the MP that he needed her account details to deposit pending arrears and some salary component, besides upgrading her ATM card.

Police claim Preneet shared her bank account number, the ATM card number, even the CVV (the card’s security code) and also the OTP (one-time password) received on her phone, with the accused. “The accused Ansari changed the registered mobile number with his number in the MP’s bank account and made 23 different transactions from July 26-29. The Patiala MP came to know about only when she contacted her bank branch for checking her account details,” the SSP added.

CIA in-charge Shaminder Singh said the accused Afsar was maintaining 48 e-wallets as a front and offering services such as depositing electricity bills, online shopping and online recharges. The gang also forged documents such as Aadhaar cards, the PAN card and other documents to open bank accounts and e-wallets. The accused have been booked under sections 420 (cheating) of the IPC Act and under other sections of the Information Technology (IT) Act.

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