Odisha: Crime Branch busts investment fraud gang, nabs 15

Preliminary probe suggests that the accused are involved in more than 80 cases across the country.
Odisha police Crime Branch nabs 15 people allegedly involved in investment fraud.
Odisha police Crime Branch nabs 15 people allegedly involved in investment fraud.

BHUBANESWAR: In a major crackdown against scamsters engaged in online investment frauds, the Crime Branch of Odisha Police on Tuesday busted an inter-state gang and arrested 15 of its members for their alleged involvement in cheating people and swindling over Rs 20 crore across the country in the last few months.

The accused lured people in around nine states including Odisha to invest in shares, IPOs and cryptocurrencies to get higher returns. They were nabbed after a resident of Bhubaneswar approached the CB after being cheated of a whopping Rs 3.04 crore on the assurance that he will receive three times of his total investment within four months.

The gang members reportedly contacted the complainant on Facebook and subsequently asked him to join a group on Telegram where they convinced him to invest in shares to receive higher returns. The victim made the investments between March 29 and June 11 but never got his money back.

On receiving the complaint, CB registered a case and launched an investigation into the matter. Subsequently, the agency arrested the gang’s masterminds Tushar Sharma and Bhavesh Thakur, both natives of New Delhi and 13 others from Bhubaneswar and other parts of the state.

Investigation revealed that accused Ranjit Bal of Kendrapada, Dillip Lenka of Balasore, Sunil Prasad of Ganjam and Bishikesan Padhy of Rayagada opened current bank accounts in different parts of the state and shared their details with Sharma and Thakur.

Kalandi Singh and Sudhansu Pattanaik of Khurda, Udaybhanu Ghadei of Bhubaneswar, Jiten Barad of Nayagarh and Bharat Bhusan Chakra of Jagatsinghpur became part of the investment fraud by opening mule bank accounts in their names for commission.

Bikash Chandra Rout and Uttam Sahu of Bhadrak, Satya Ranjan Sahoo of Balasore and Amit Rout of Ganjam also opened mule bank accounts in their names and shared the details with the other members of the gang.

“The gang operated in three layers. At the top, Sharma and Thakur managed the entire operations, while four others facilitated to open current bank accounts. Nine other accused opened mule bank accounts for commission. Subsequently, the cheated money was transferred into those accounts,” CB ADG Arun Bothra told mediapersons on Wednesday.

Preliminary probe suggests that the accused are involved in more than 80 cases across the country. So far, it has been established that they have cheated two individuals in Odisha and the numbers could go up, said Bothra. CB IG Shefeen Ahamed said the accused were transferring the cheated money outside the country after buying cryptocurrencies. The antecedents of the accused are being verified. One of them has a BTech degree, he added.

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