Major lottery racket busted

Rajmeet Singh/TNS

Mohali, August 31
The Mohali-based cyber wing of the Punjab Crime Branch has busted an international racket of Internet lottery fraud and arrested two persons for duping a Mohali resident of Rs 1.25 lakh.

The suspects, Ibne Hasan, a resident of Muzzaffarnagar (Uttar Pradesh) and Nauman Ali of Roorkee, a resident of Uttarakhand, had sent an SMS to the victim, Abhishek, stating that he had won a lottery of Rs 25 lakh and that he had to deposit Rs 1.25 lakh as the clearance amount to get the prize amount.

The suspects, who are on a two-day police remand after being produced in a local court, are believed to have duped a number of persons from different states in the northern region, especially Punjab. The duped amount of Rs 1.25 lakh has been recovered from the suspects.

Victim Abhishek got suspicious soon after depositing the amount with a local bank and approached the crime branch. In his complaint, he said that he received an SMS that he had won a lottery of Rs 25 lakh and after that he received phone calls to deposit Rs 1.25 lakh as a clearance amount. The phone calls originated from Dubai and Pakistan. Interestingly, Abhishek deposited the amount in the bank account indicated by the callers.

The investigation carried out by a team of officials headed by Inspector Charanjeev Lamba of Cyber Crime wing revealed the racket was being operated from Dubai and Pakistan and the local contacts of the operators used to collect money from the victims. Kunwar Vijay Pratap Singh, SSP of State Crime Branch, said in investigation it was found that the bank accounts were opened in Roorkee. The racket operators have links in Kerala also.

Further investigations are going on and efforts are being made to ascertain the identity of the accused persons based in Dubai and Pakistan. The gang used to send SMS and e-mail to ignorant citizens that they have won a lottery and they are asked to deposit certain amount as a clearance charge. People, out of ignorance, are being duped by such gangs.

At present, 10 such complaints are pending with the crime branch. The SSP advised the general public to ignore and delete such SMSes and e-mails.

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