Mumbai: Indian Idol fame duped of Rs 1.75 lakh

Mumbai: Sion police arrested two men from Jharkhand for posing as bank officials and cheating Indian Idol fame Avanti Patel and her sister of Rs 1.75 lakh. The accused, a resident of Jharkhand, had cheated many others using the same modus operandi and was wanted in a dozen cases of cyber fraud.

The complainant, Patel, had received a new ATM-cum-debit card from the bank, with a new Personal Identification Number (PIN) to activate the card. However, since she was busy, she never got a chance to generate the PIN and activate the card. According to police, on December 31 last year, Patel received a call from a man claiming to be bank personnel, Pankaj Sharma.

Sharma said the old ATM-cum-debit card was soon to be expired and he needs the card details to deactivate it. Sharma claimed to have all details of Patel’s bank account like her mailing address, her account number. Believing Sharma, Patel gave the expiry date of her card and the one-time password (OTP) she received on her mobile phone.

Minutes later, Patel received a message of Rs 1 lakh being withdrawn from her account. Shocked, Patel called Sharma and questioned him, to which the latter said it was a mistake from the bank officials and the money would soon be credited in her account.

However, Sharma added, the money will not be credited in the same account and he needs another account’s details. Lalita Gaikwad, a senior police officer of Sion police station said, “When Patel said she did not own another bank account, she gave her sister’s bank account details and provided with the OTP from her mobile.

In the same manner, her sister received a call of Rs 75,000 being withdrawn from her account. It was then they realised they have been duped and approached Sion police station to report the matter. We registered a case and traced the call and Internet Protocol (IP) address to Jharkhand.”

A police team was sent to Jharkhand, where they investigated the matter, only to realise the accused in their case was wanted in several other cases with the same modus operandi by Jharkhand’s cyber police.

The accused duo, Rajkumar Mandal and Milankumar Sundaram, were apprehended from Dondiya village in Jharkhand and booked under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code and Information Technology (IT) Act for cheating and common intention. Police have also seized 15 mobile phones, four passbooks and several ATM cards from the accused persons.

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