Vadodara Police Unravel Scam Ring: Fraudsters Pose as Company Chairmen to Extort Money
A multi-state network with a history of defrauding businesses exposed; up to Rs 50 lakh embezzled over a decade
Vadodara Police have arrested members of a criminal gang that extorted money from dealers of GACL Company by impersonating its Chairman. The arrest has unearthed alarming details, including the fraudsters' modus operandi of posing as MDs and Chairmen of various companies to swindle money.
GACL dealers in Vadodara had recently been receiving phone calls from individuals claiming to be Chairman Hasmukh Adhiya. The callers would make urgent pleas for money, stating that a relative had been in an accident and required immediate funds. While many dealers were skeptical and refused, one dealer, Bhadresh Patel, transferred Rs 98,000 to the fraudsters.
Upon receiving a formal complaint from GACL's Marketing Manager, Jawahar Nagar Police initiated an investigation in collaboration with Vadodara Cyber Cell. Their probe led them to a money transfer businessman from Navsari, whose mobile surveillance subsequently pointed to the arrest of Raghuveer Singh alias Munno Balwant Singh Chauhan, a resident of Raj Pardi, Jhagadia District, Bharuch. Chauhan confessed to the crime during police interrogation.
During questioning, Chauhan revealed his tactics for impersonation. He would use Google searches to gather information about the senior executives of large companies. Using this information, he would create fake email IDs and alter caller ID information on Truecaller. He would even upload photos of the executives to WhatsApp to further lend credibility to his scheme.
Chauhan admitted that his criminal activities spanned several states, including Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, and Haryana. He mostly used SIM cards registered in someone else's name and relied on QR codes for money transfers. Over a period of ten years, he embezzled up to Rs 50 lakh, he confessed.
He also admitted to cheating people by impersonating former Anjar Minister Vasanbhai Ahir and members of the Indian Army. He would usually source the names and contact numbers of potential targets, such as tile companies and dealers, from online searches.
The Vadodara Police recovered three mobile phones and 21 SIM cards based on Chauhan's mobile location. In addition, Axis Bank and Kotak Mahindra Bank ATM cards, Aadhaar and PAN cards, and Rs 22,050 in cash were seized.
This case highlights the growing complexities and reach of cybercrime, even as authorities step up their efforts to counter these threats.