Bengaluru Police bust Rs 854 crore cyber investment fraud, arrest six people
The police have been investigating the case for the past three months, said B Dayananda, Bengaluru City Police Commissioner.
BENGALURU: In probably the biggest cybercrime detection recorded in the country, the Central Crime Branch (CCB) police have detected online investment fraud totalling Rs 854 crore pertaining to a whopping 5,013 cases registered in 28 states and some union territories — all by a gang of nine, six of who have been arrested, while three are absconding.
All the 5,013 cases surfaced like a revelation while the CCB along with Bengaluru’s Cyber Economic and Narcotics (CEN) police were investigating one case (case number 17/2023) registered in April in which the victim lost Rs 8.5 lakh. This was just one of the 17 cases filed in Bengaluru which were being investigated.
The cybercriminals cheated the victims by luring them with high rates of interest for the money they deposited with them. They contacted the victims on social media groups such as WhatsApp and Telegram, befriended them and cheated them after gaining their trust.
The victims were asked to invest small amounts between Rs 1,000 and 10,000 and promised that they would earn between Rs 1,000 and Rs 5,000 daily in return. Falling for the lure, many invested Rs 1 lakh and upwards, some even more than Rs 10 lakh, the police said. Neither the money was returned nor the interest paid as promised, the police added.
While investigating case number 17/2023 in Bengaluru, the police discovered that 84 mule bank accounts were being used for transactions in all 5,013 cases and about Rs 854 crore transacted so far as per the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) portal. Mule bank accounts are run by third-party individuals or groups as intermediaries to receive and transfer illegally obtained funds between various bank accounts within or outside the country.
The police have been investigating the case for the past three months, said B Dayananda, Bengaluru City Police Commissioner. The victims in the 17 cases registered in Bengaluru have been cheated of Rs 49 lakh.
Of the 5,013 cases, 487 were registered by Karnataka Police (including 17 in Bengaluru), 719 by Telangana Police, 642 cases by Gujarat Police, 505 by Uttar Pradesh Police, 472 by Tamil Nadu Police, 332 by Maharashtra Police. The remaining were registered by the police of other states, he said, adding that the city police will be in touch with their counterparts in other states, where cases have been registered, for further investigations.
Rs 5 crore from 84 mule bank accounts frozen
A sum of Rs 5 crore from 84 mule bank accounts has been frozen, and electronic gadgets such as laptops, printers and swiping machines have been seized from the arrested identified as Manoj, Panindra, Chakradhar, Shrinivas, Somashekar and Vasanth, all residents of Bengaluru. Dayananda said, “The roles of the six arrested are different, like contacting and luring the victims, luring bank account-holders to give consent for transactions from their accounts for a commission basis.”
The police said the three absconding accused are the masterminds and have been “partially identified”, although it is not clear whether they are in India or abroad. The 17 cases reported in Bengaluru, included eight from the North CEN police station, four from the North East CEN station, three from the South East CEN station, and two from the cybercrime station. The cyber crime police have taken custody of the six arrested for further investigations.