Four persons who were arrested in Ranchi by a special investigation team of the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the Crime Branch (CB) in an online fraud case were brought to Kochi on Wednesday.
The accused allegedly cheated a housewife from Ernakulam to the tune of ₹1.12 crore in the guise of online lottery. Of the four arrested, three — Jyothish Kumar, Mohan Kumar, and Ajith Kumar — are from Bihar, and Neeraj Kumar is from Ranchi.
The investigation team seized 28 mobile phones, 85 ATM cards, eight SIM cards, laptop, cheques and passbooks of various banks, and ₹1.25 lakh from the accused. They were brought to Kochi after completing formalities in a Ranchi court.
The alleged fraud was pulled off by the accused by convincing the victim that she had won ₹1.50 crore in a lucky draw held for customers of a major e-commerce portal. They then cheated her by collecting ₹1.12 crore in several lots as service charges through various bank accounts. They immediately withdrew the money using ATM card and converted it into crypto currency.
The accused were suspected to have committed similar frauds across the country. They managed to get access to the password of victims’ Internet banking and then seed their mobile number with the account. This leaves the original account holder in the dark about the fraud.
The Crime Branch EOW of the Ernakulam unit tracked down the accused to Ranchi after going through over 1,000 mobile phone numbers, 500-odd mobile phone call details, and 250-odd bank account details. The accused were nabbed from an interior area in Ranchi in a raid.
The case was registered on a petition lodged by the victim with the Kochi City cybercrime police. Considering the seriousness of the offence, the case was handed over to the Crime Branch EOW. The probe was held under the supervision of CB Deputy Inspector General J. Jayanath, CB Superintendent M.J. Sojan, and Deputy Superintendent of Police V. Roy.
A team comprising detective inspector Saiju K. Paul of the Crime Branch EOW of the Ernakulam unit, detective sub inspectors T.D. Manoj Kumar and Jijomon Thomas, senior civil police officer U. Saurabh, and senior civil police officers with the Kochi cybercrime police P. Ajith and R. Arun arrested the accused from Ranchi.
Victims of online fraud should immediately report with the cyber police helpline 1930.