Delhi Police arrests 11 for cheating people on pretext of offering lucrative returns

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New Delhi, Jun 9 (PTI) The Delhi Police Cyber Cell has arrested 11 men, including two charted accountants, for allegedly cheating more than five lakh people of over Rs 150 crore in two months on the pretext of providing lucrative returns on two mobile applications, police said on Wednesday.

A total of Rs 11 crore of the cheated money has been blocked in various bank accounts and payment gateways, they said.

Police took notice of various posts being made on social media by people from across the country about two mobile apps - Power Bank and EZPlan. These apps offered lucrative returns on investment, a senior police officer said.

The Power Bank app projected itself as a Bengaluru-based start-up, but its server was found based in China, he said.

The apps, in order to entice a large number of people to invest more money, initially gave a small payout amounting to 5 to 10 per cent of the invested money, police said.

After gaining trust, people started investing more money and circulating and sharing the apps with their friends and relatives, they said.

'Police invested a token amount in the app and the money trail was followed. It was found that the accused persons had created a web of around 25 shell companies for routing the fraud money.

'These companies were located in different parts of the country and the money was being moved from one account to another to hide the trail,' Deputy Commissioner of Police (Cyber Cell) Anyesh Roy said.

Police analysed the mobile numbers connected with the bank accounts and found that one of the accused, identified as Sheikh Robin, was in Uluberia, West Bengal, police said.

On June 2, raids were conducted at multiple locations and one Robin was arrested. At the same time, nine others, including two CAs -- Avik Kedia, a resident of Gurgaon, and Ronak Bansal, a resident of Katwaria Sarai -- were arrested from Delhi-NCR, the DCP said.

The CAs created over 110 shell companies and sold these companies to some Chinese nationals for Rs 2 to 3 lakh each, police said.

Robin, who was contacted by a Chinese national through messaging app Telegram, initially opened a bank account for these fraudsters, but later started acting as an operative whose primary task was to manage the large number of fund transfers, the DCP said, adding that at the time of the arrest, he was operating around 29 bank accounts, police said.

The main Chinese handlers behind this massive scam used to randomly contact people over various apps such as WhatsApp and Telegram and hired the interested persons as partners for procuring bogus bank accounts, creating shell companies, circulating and promoting the apps, transferring money, they said.

Several Chinese nationals have been found behind this scam so far. Investigation in respect of their whereabouts, specific roles and their large fraud network is underway, police added. PTI NIT KJ KJ KJ