A 35-year-old Nigerian has been arrested by the Special Staff of the Central Delhi Police for allegedly cheating people through false offers of online lottery prizes. The police claim to have seized a laptop, two pen-drives containing data of bank accounts, addresses and contact numbers of his victims and three mobile phones, besides an Internet data-card from him.

Naim Gaffur Sheikh, a Pune resident, received a message on his mobile phone last August saying he had won a lottery prize of £7 lakh.

He was asked to contact the organisers through an e-mail address. Lured by the offer, Naim sent an e-mail and was subsequently asked to deposit money on various pretexts such as service charges and Customs clearance. He deposited Rs.20.50 lakh in 15 instalments in three different bank accounts.

On March 4, one of the culprits asked Naim to meet him in a Karol Bagh hotel. Introducing himself as Peter Smith, a representative of the organisation offering the prize money, the person claimed that the cheque had arrived at the Indira Gandhi International Airport but he would have to pay Rs.3 lakh for Customs clearance. Naim again paid Rs.1.5 lakh on the assurance that the cheque would be delivered to him in a couple of days.

When the cheque did not arrive, he lodged a complaint with the Karol Bagh Police.

The Special Staff mounted technical surveillance and studied the e-mails sent by the gang to zero in on the suspect, who was identified as Ozaya Isaian, a Nigerian, residing in Greater Kailash.

Came as student

During interrogation, he purportedly disclosed that he came to India on a student visa in 2006 to pursue a computer course. But he did not get a job and allegedly started cheating people by luring them through e-mails offering huge sums of money as lottery prizes.

According to Deputy Commissioner of Police (Central Delhi) Jaspal Singh, Ozaya opened some bank accounts using fake identification papers.

Soon after the victims deposited money in one of his bank accounts, he would transfer the money to other accounts to evade detection. The police found that his visa had expired two years ago.