Three men who allegedly posed as Australian Tax Officers and duped Indian actress and dancer Isha Sharvani were arrested by Delhi Police Wednesday. Sharvani, who lives in Perth, Australia, was cheated of 5,700 AUD (Rs 2,76,000).
Police said the prime accused, identified as Bhanuj Berry (24), allegedly ran a fake call centre from West Delhi s Vikaspuri. He along with two others, Puneet Chaddha (34) and Rishab Khanna (23), has duped more than 100 Australian citizens by posing as tax officers, police said.
While Berry studied B.Com from School of Open Learning, Chaddha is an MBA graduate. The third accused, Khanna. is in his final year of Bachelor of Business Administration.
The Cyber Crime Unit constituted a team under the supervision of Aditya Gautam (ACP, Cyber Crime) and arrested the accused within 24 hours of the actress filing a complaint.
On Monday, one of the accused called Sharvani and told her he works for the Tax Department in Australia. He threatened her, saying the Australian government has issued an arrest warrant against her for violating rules while filing her tax returns. He asked Sharvani to give him her tax accountant s name and number. Later, another man claiming to be from the tax accountant s office called and said there was an error in her tax returns and that she wasn t at fault as the tax company didn t inform her about the new rules issued by the government. She was instructed to pay 5,700 AUD to the remittance officer of the Australian Tax Department in India and was assured that the company would reimburse the amount, said DCP (Cyber Crime) Anyesh Roy.
The accused told Sharvani to transfer 3,500 AUD through Western Union and 2,200 AUD via Ria Money Transfer. Police said the men stayed on the call with her for three hours till she transferred the money. Later, the actress realised she had been duped and filed a complaint, said police.
Police said the Western Union account was registered in Berry s name. He was traced and brought in for questioning.
He tried to mislead us by producing fake documents but later confessed to the crime. He said he had been running the fake call centre with two others for eight months. More than 15 people worked under him, procuring data of Australian citizens through the dark web . They called them using Voice over IP call (VoIP). They used spoofing software to get numbers registered in Canberra, said a senior police officer.
DCP Roy said the accused used the same modus operandi to fool more than 100 people in Australia they pretended to be tax officers from Australia and threatened their targets with arrest, following which the victims would transfer the money.
Berry disclosed the names of the two other accused and police arrested them while they were trying to flee the city.