NEW DELHI: The Delhi Police have arrested five members of a gang which allegedly duped over 27,000 job seekers of Rs 1.09 crore by promising them jobs through a fake website of an entity, police said on Thursday.
The police claimed to have recovered Rs 49 lakh of the duped amount and also seized seven mobile phones and three laptops from them.
The gang was headed by Vishnu Sharma and Ramdhari, who operated from Hisar in Haryana, and since August 2020, the duo along with their associates cheated over 27,000 job seekers by promising them government jobs, police said.
Ramdhari, who was one of the key conspirators, has been arrested while raids are being conducted to nab Vishnu Sharma who is still at large, they said.
Apart from Ramdhari, the police have arrested other gang members -- Surender Singh (50), Sandeep (32) and Joginder Singh (35) -- from various parts of Haryana and Delhi.
According to the police, the fraudsters created fake website of a fictitious entity -- Swastha Avm Jan Kalyan Sansthan (SAJKS) under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare -- and offered over 13,000 fake jobs through their bogus website --www.sajks.org.
Over 15 lakh SMS with link of the fake website were sent to gullible jobs seekers for registration, police said.
Police claimed that the fake website was so convincing that even the mainstream media reported the news of 13,000 job openings, which led more people falling prey to the fraud.
The matter came to light after the Delhi Police's Cyber Cell received a complaint from a job aspirant who was allegedly duped by the gang.
In his complaint, he alleged that he was cheated through a fake website floated in the name of 'Swastha Avm Jan Kanyan Sansthan'.
Believing it to be a genuine website, he applied for various job and also paid the registration fees online, the complainant alleged.
After initial enquiries, a case of cheating and forgery was registered and investigation was taken up, said Anyesh Roy, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Cyber Cell).
Police collected technical details and analysed the money trail of the fraudulent activities run by the fake website and learnt that multiple bogus accounts and digital identities were being used to cover their illegal acts.
"On the basis of the technical investigation, the masterminds operating the fake website were identified and located in Hisar, Haryana and during investigation, it was revealed that thousands of job seekers were duped through the website and that the gang members were siphoning out the cheated money from ATMs in Hisar," he said.
One of the gang members, Amandeep Khatkari (27) was arrested after he was caught red-handed withdrawing cash from an ATM in Hisar, he said.
"During interrogation, Amandeep revealed that in August this year, he along with his associates -- Vishnu, Sandeep, Ramdhari, Surender and Joginder -- had hatched a conspiracy in Hisar to cheat gullible job seekers by promising them government jobs.
"To execute their plan, Joginder and Sandeep, both software professionals, designed the fake website. They also opened a bank account in the name of Swasthya Sansthan under proprietorship of Surender," he said.
Amandeep was tasked to withdraw cash from various ATMs which was distributed among the gang members on a daily basis.
Both Vishnu and Ramdhari, who run an online examination centre outsourced for conducting government recruitment tests allegedly misused the data of job aspirants appearing at their online examination centre, the officer said.
"The contact details of the candidates who appeared for various online exams in the examination centre run by Vishnu and Ramdhari was used to send SMSes to them, and lure them to apply for job on their fake website.
"The SMSes had link to their website. When a person visited this site, it offered a wide range of jobs under Swasthya Avm Jan Kalyan Sansthan (SAJKS) and the victim was prompted to submit his or her bio-data with the prescribed fee," the accused disclosed to police during interrogation.
"During investigation, police learnt that more than 13,000 jobs ranging from accountant, lab attendant, ambulance driver among others were being offered through the bogus website and that over 15 lakh SMSes were sent by the gang members till now to their targets due to which more than 27,000 victims have fallen a prey.
"Victims had paid Rs 400-500 each, thus totalling an amount of more than Rs 1.09 crore till date from October 1," he said.
The Delhi Police has advised people to apply due caution while applying for jobs through online portals and forums such as social media, instant messaging Apps and emails and said the genuineness of the website or company and its representatives should be checked from credible sources before applying for job, or before accepting an invite for interview.
They added that transfer of money for registration and confidential details should be sent only after thorough check of the website or company's credentials.