Mira-Bhayandar: A 42-year-old man from Mira Road became the latest target of cyber fraud after he was duped of more than Rs14 lakh by crooks under the pretext of getting him a liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) agency of a reputed public sector oil and natural gas company under the government’s Ujjwala Yojna.
In his statement to the police, the complainant, Vinayak Rao (name changed), said he intended to start a gas agency and while searching for franchise options on a reputed search engine, he was directed to the homepage which offered LPG dealership by the company. After filing the distributorship form online, the complainant received a verification phone call from an unidentified caller who provided an email id for sending documents including PAN card, Aadhar card bank statements along with an application fee amounting Rs 15,500.
The complainant was informed that his application was approved, following which he transferred Rs 2.23 lakh and Rs 3.88 lakh towards the dealership certificate and no objections certificate (NOC) in bank accounts as specified by the caller.
After completing all the formalities and payments, the complainant was asked to make an advance payment amounting Rs 7.92 lakh for 1,050 gas cylinders. The complainant obeyed but was asked to transfer another Rs 4.23 lakh towards insurance charges. Suspecting something fishy, the complainant decided to cross-verify by establishing contact with the customer care helpline of the gas company and was shocked to learn that such allotments were never made online.
“Based on the complaint, we have registered a case under sections 419 and 420 of the IPC against a duo. Investigations were on to trail bank accounts that were used to transfer the money,” said Senior Police Inspector Sandip Kadam.
Appointment of LPG dealers are carried out through a well-established selection procedure comprising detailed advertisement published in leading newspapers, hosting of the matter on original website of Oil Manufacturing Companies and conducting a draw of lots from amongst applicants, sources said.