BHUBANESWAR: Some crooks allegedly defrauded a Keonjhar businessman of Rs 2.35 crore in Odisha’s one of the biggest cyber-cum-economic crimes, luring him with the promise of great profits for a life insurance policy he had purchased.
Despite the fact that such crimes are generally investigated by cybercrime police stations, looking at the magnitude of the fraud the state crime branch has tasked its economic offences wing (EOW) with the investigation.
In March 2012, Pramod Kumar Rout (58), a businessman from the mineral-rich Keonjhar district, purchased an undisclosed amount of insurance. In October 2019, he received a call from A K Walia, posing as a senior person in the Ministry of Finance (money releasing division) in Hyderabad.
“Walia informed me that I had been chosen to get Rs 3 crore from the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund for my life insurance coverage,” he said.
He then forwarded me a letter from the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority’s Suresh Mathur (IRDA). “I was requested to pay millions of rupees in dues,” the complaint said, according to an EOW official.
Rout dismissed the letter and remained silent about it. After a few days, he began to get calls from various numbers and guys claiming to be officials from the finance ministry and the IRDA. They informed Rout that if he did not pay his dues, his accounts would be frozen.
“Rout agreed to pay the money out of fear. Rout transferred Rs 2.35 crore from November 19, 2019 to February 4, 2021 without validating the identities of unknown callers. Last year, the con artists handed Rout two demand drafts totalling Rs 1.98 crore. However, they proved out to be fake,” claimed an EOW official.
Rout waited months in anticipation of receiving the promised funds. On February 28, he filed a complaint with the EOW after realising he had been taken for a ride. Before the EOW, Rout provided information of his banking transactions totaling Rs 2.35 crore.
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