Mumbai: The Matunga police have arrested a 31-year-old Zilla Parishad school teacher from Jharkhand for defrauding nearly 3,600 people online by approaching them via text messages and calls pretending to be a bank employee. Manjeet Kumar Arya is the fourth arrest in the case, while the other three were arrested by the police three weeks ago.
The matter surfaced when their latest target, a 64-year-old senior citizen, Vasant Chedda, received a text message on Dec 25 last year. It said, “Dear (bank name) user, your (bank name) account has been blocked due to non-submission of KYC. Click the link below to update your PAN Number.” A link was attached to the message.
Immediately after this, the complainant received a call from someone posing as a ‘bank employee’. “They either scare them saying their account will be blocked or sweet talk them into sharing the OTP to access the bank account,” said a police official.
Mr Chedda lost Rs1 lakh, after which he approached the police. On launching the investigation, the police and the cyber team managed to acquire the subscriber detail record (SDR), call detail record (CDR) and location details of three suspects who were later arrested. While two were from Delhi, one was operating from Jharkhand. Interrogation revealed more accomplices in the specific racket.
The new suspect that the police were looking for – the teacher from Jharkhand – is allegedly the kingpin of the gang that operates from Deoghar in the state. The police, with counterparts in Bilasi, said the arrest was hard to make as he disguised his identity. As a school teacher he had a clean record and a good name among the locals.
The police therefore got a search warrant and searched his residence, finding several mobile phones, SIM cards, a laptop, cheque books and six debit cards, which he used to defraud people. He confessed to his crimes and was taken into custody. The SIM cards found were listed in one of the cyber cases registered at the National Cyber Crime Reporting (NCCR) portal.
Those arrested earlier were Saif Ali Usman Ali, 23, a businessman and Mohammad Kalam Ansari, 22, both from Delhi, a student and Arunkumar Naresh Mandal, 24, a farmer by profession based in Jharkhand.
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