The Crime Branch sleuths of the Coimbatore City Police on Thursday arrested a Nigerian national Odiegwu Nnamdi Jude (30) on charges of cheating a businessman in Coimbatore.

Mahadevan (38) of Peelamedu engaged in repairing and servicing textile mill machinery received a Short Message Service (SMS) on his phone on September 17 stating that he had chosen for a lottery prize of two lakh pounds. When he responded to the SMS, he was given an e-mail address to contact the processing agent to collect his prize. On sending an e-mail, Mahadevan was asked to remit Rs.31,583 towards processing charges and customs clearance to get the prize money.

Accordingly, the complainant deposited the sum in the account number provided. When the complainant asked for the prize money by sending an e-mail he was asked to immediately come to Mumbai. On reaching Mumbai, when he called the particular mobile number, Mahadevan was asked to remit another Rs.1.05 lakhs said to be for scanning charges. He paid the money and when there was no response from the other end, the complainant turned suspicious and preferred a complaint with the police.

City Police Commissioner, P.Sivanandi ordered for a probe and Deputy Commissioner of Police (Crime and Traffic), N.Kamini constituted special teams led by Assistant Commissioner, M.Selvarajan. The complainant was asked to continue his negotiations with the processing agent. Finally, the agent said that his representative would come to Coimbatore to hand over the money. Immediately a trap was laid and the police waited at Gandhipuram bus stand and nabbed Odiegwu Nnamdi Jude.

Police found a gadget that resembled a phone, a mini locker, bundles of black colour and white colour papers and chemical substances in his luggage. When inquired, the accused said that the chemicals were meant for turning these paper bundles into U.S. dollars. All that was recovered from his possession were meant for cheating hapless victims lured by such e-mails and SMS. He was taken into custody and the Police have registered a case against the Nigerian national under sections 419 and 420 (cheating) of the Indian Penal Code.

Efforts are on to verify the transactions of the bank account, in which Mahadevan had remitted the money. Police said that the accused nabbed on Thursday could just be an agent and there could be a large network operating across the country. Mr.Sivanandi asked the public to be cautious and not to be lured by such offers of lottery or prize being intimated through SMS and e-mails. In the event of any such information, the public should approach the City Crime Branch, he said.