Namesake drags unsuspecting woman into multi-crore scam

Hindi daily carries photograph of a college teacher from Aluva as accused in the case

In what resembles a bizarre plot from a movie, an unsuspecting college teacher from Aluva was dragged into a suspected multi-crore scam in Bilaspur in Chhattisgarh as the accused in the case happened to be her namesake.

While Rekha Nair, an assistant professor of English at UC College, resides at Aluva, her photograph was published in a widely circulated Hindi daily as the alleged scamster, who, in effect, is a suspended stenographer who is her namesake in the DGP’s office in Chhattisgarh.

It is believed that the photograph was taken from Ms. Nair’s social media account without any verification and carried with reports published on March 16 and 20. A student of Ms. Nair who lives in Bilaspur alerted her to the matter. Since then, she has been running from pillar to post even as online platforms carried the picture. She has now approached the Cyber Cell and is exploring a legal remedy.

“We got to know about the report on March 17. As an immediate step, we consulted the police and lodged a petition,” Ms. Nair told The Hindu. “Since we could not attach a copy of the newspaper report downloaded from its website or WhatsApp, we sought to get the original newspaper to take legal action. This took time as it was couriered to us only three weeks later.

In the meantime, the newspaper was contacted. It tendered apology and removed the report from its website. “While we thought this was the end of the ordeal, a student in Australia forwarded a news report that appeared in a portal,” she said. It was then she approached the Cyber Cell. “We were told that at least a dozen news portals and sites had shared the news carried by the language daily. And, it was like a bolt from the blue,” Ms. Nair said.

Now, each day she scans more websites to see if more sites have carried her photograph. Meanwhile, a television channel showed visuals of the alleged scamster being accosted by the police along with the teacher’s photograph. While the developments forced Ms. Nair to send a legal notice to the Hindi daily, it returned with the addressee refusing to accept it. “Now, we are awaiting further legal counsel,” she added.

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Note: Subsequent to this report being published, Ms. Nair clarifies that the newspaper in question has not tendered an apology to her.

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Printable version | Jun 3, 2020 9:14:36 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/namesake-drags-unsuspecting-woman-into-multi-crore-scam/article27154649.ece

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