India cyber police arrested two Nigerians in Delhi for duping a Mumbai woman of Rs 2.2 lakh after befriending her on a social networking site. The cyber police team and the accused Casmir Chijioke and Oliver Onyeka will reach the city on Saturday and will be produced in court.
One of the Nigerians had sent a friend request in the first week of March to the 42-year-old woman, who is the secretary of a high court judge, and introduced himself as ‘John Hammer,’ a businessman from UK (a fake identity). He later told her that he would soon come to India on a ‘business visit’.
On March 22, the victim received a call from a woman claiming to be a customs official at Delhi airport who demanded that she pay up to release the UK national who was “detained as he was found to be in possession of currency which he did not declare”. The case was detected after the cyber police team, which went to Delhi, zeroed in on a pregnant woman who withdrew money from an ATM minutes after the victim deposited the sum on March 22.
“A Mumbai police team which stayed for three days in Delhi, tracked accounts in five banks and went through the CCTV footage of ATM withdrawals. One footage showed a pregnant woman withdrawing money from the ATM soon after the amount was transferred.”
The victim complained she recei a call from a woman saying the UK friend was caught by customs for smuggling and needs money toms for smuggling and needs money to get out of jail, failing which she (the victim) too would be in trouble,” said additional commissioner of police (crime) K M M Prasanna.
The case was registered on April 6, two weeks after the woman first threatened the victim. Based on the complaint, Prasanna formed a team including DCP (cyber) M Rajkumar, BKC cyber police senior inspector Kalpana Gadekar, inspector Ravi Sardesai, assistant inspectors Prakash Warke and Umesh Gaund, sub-inspector Shailesh Pawar and constable Tukaram Turatwad.
The victim deposited the money in five accounts of three banks in Delhi after the fraudsters threatened her with 50 calls and over 50 SMSes, claiming customs officials would arrest her on April 25 if the money was not paid.
“Initially I was scared. The accused threatened me and flooded my mobile inbox with 50 messages and also made 50 calls demanding money. A woman who claimed she was a customs official, threatened to book me for money laundering saying the UK national caught at Delhi had brought the pounds to gift them to me,” she told TOI.
She deposited Rs 60,000 on March 22 and another Rs 30,000 later that day. “Another three transactions for Rs 25,000, Rs 35,000 and Rs 70,000 were done on March 28. But the threats did not stop and the caller demanded another Rs 2 lakh which finally made me approach the cops. I even told the caller that I did not know the UK national personally, but she was adamant,” she said.
“I paid what amounted to several months’ salary. After the first instalment, they sent me a mail through a fake Reserve Bank of India email id, claiming the money is the fine for bringing the pounds and demanded more to clear the matter. I received the threats till Thursday,” said the victim.