MADURAI: A doctor from a private hospital here was cheated of more than Rs 2 crore after making an order for N95 masks online.
According to sources, the 41-year-old doctor, who runs a private hospital in Vadipatti, approached the District Crime Branch police on Friday. He stated that he ordered five lakh N95 masks from a private company in the Netherlands online.
A person named Patrick Van Dick, who claimed to be from the sales section of the company, contacted him to discuss the sale and transaction followed by a man named Peter Boots who introduced himself as the manager of the company and confirmed the order. They asked the doctor to pay 20 percent in advance and he paid 1,60,000 US dollars.
The duo sent him an airway bill and also asked for further payment of 30 percent, adding that the remaining 50 percent should be paid after the order reaches Chennai airport. Sources added that when the doctor grew suspicious and tried to cancel the order, the duo stopped responding. They neither supplied the masks nor returned the advance amount.
The doctor was also cheated of over Rs 90 lakh by a Kyrgyzstan-based company after placing a similar online order in May. According to sources, the doctor, based on the advice of a man named Uday Shankar Parupalli from Hyderabad, had ordered two lakh N95 masks from the company. After that, another man named Surya Narayanan, claiming to be the commercial director of the company, contacted him and confirmed the order.
But after paying part of the amount, he realised that the SGS certificate sent by the duo for the transaction was fake. When the doctor told them to return the money, they stopped responding to his calls, sources added.
Based on the complaint given by the doctor, DCB police registered two separate cases against seven persons including the aforementioned men under Sections 120 (B) (Criminal conspiracy), 406 (Criminal breach of trust), 420 (Cheating) and 34 (Act done by several persons with common intention) of the Indian Penal Code. Police sources said that since the offences involve foreign nationals, the concerned embassies should be contacted for further investigation.
Two businessmen in Mumbai and a doctor in Hyderabad also lost their money to similar fraudsters while trying to purchase N95 masks and PPE kits online.