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Uttarakhand STF Strikes Again: Hawala Operator Arrested in Maharashtra

Arrest of major hawala operator in Maharashtra by STF Uttarakhand reveals nationwide cybercrime network.



Uttarakhand STF Strikes Again Hawala Operator Arrested in Maharashtra
Nationwide Hunt By STF Uttarakhand Leads to Arrest of Alleged Hawala Mastermind

DEHRADUN: The Uttarakhand Special Task Force (STF) cyber police station has arrested yet another major hawala operator, allegedly involved in facilitating illicit transactions through bank accounts and SIM cards. This arrest marks the third in a series of crackdowns on a sprawling network of cybercriminals operating across the nation.

Extensive Criminal Network Unveiled

The arrested individual, identified as Yusuf Mirza Khan, hailing from Wadala East, Mumbai, Maharashtra, was detained in Mahabaleshwar, Maharashtra, following a relentless pursuit spanning over 1800 kilometers.

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The arrest of Khan sheds light on a labyrinthine web of illegal financial activities, with a staggering 159 cases lodged against the apprehended gang members. These cases encompass a spectrum of 3272 cybercrimes reported throughout the country, underscoring the magnitude of the operation.

Modus Operandi Unveiled

The modus operandi of the accused involved leveraging digital platforms, primarily WhatsApp, to lure unsuspecting victims into fraudulent investment schemes. In one instance, the accused, operating under the alias ‘Lisa’, enticed a victim,  into investing in mutual funds via a dubious website, promising lucrative returns.

As the victim fell prey to the scheme, depositing an initial sum of Rs. 10,000, the accused exploited Indian banking channels to escalate the fraud, ultimately defrauding the victim of a staggering Rs. 1 crore.

The sophisticated operation further entailed the utilization of counterfeit SIM cards to obfuscate the trail of illicit transactions, posing a formidable challenge to law enforcement agencies.

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Nationwide Ramifications

Collaborating with the Indian Cybercrime Coordination Centre (I4C), authorities conducted an exhaustive analysis of bank accounts and mobile numbers associated with the apprehended suspect. This scrutiny unveiled a network of criminal linkages spanning various states and union territories, with cases registered in Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Telangana, Delhi, Bihar, Tamil Nadu, Haryana, Karnataka, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Uttarakhand, Chandigarh, among others. Notably, the accused’s involvement has been implicated in 54 cases within Uttarakhand alone.

Previous Arrests in Kerala and Karnataka

Prior to Khan’s arrest, the law enforcement agencies had made significant headway in dismantling the criminal syndicate, with arrests made in Kerala and Karnataka. Mahmeed Sharif from Bada Udipi, Karnataka, and Vaishyak Unikrishnan from Koduganlur Pulut Thrissur, Kerala, were among the pre-arrested accused in connection with the sprawling hawala network.

The arrest of Yusuf Mirza Khan stands as a testament to the unwavering resolve of law enforcement agencies in combating cybercrime and safeguarding the financial integrity of the nation. As investigations continue, authorities remain vigilant in their efforts to root out such nefarious activities and bring perpetrators to justice.

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