Rest of Asia

India: Police bust cybergang that conned people out of Dh75.5 million with a single app

Web report/New Delhi
Filed on June 9, 2021

The app promised hefty returns to the investors

Trapping gullible folk and literally looting billions of rupees from them has emerged as a popular trade in India. And police cyber cells across different cities keep coming across shocking instances of how thousands of people get conned by the glib operators.

The latest to be exposed was by the Delhi police cyber cell, which smashed a major racket that has seen a mind-boggling Rs1.5 billion (Dh75.5 million) being squeezed out of half a million people by an app that had the temerity to be listed on the Google Play Store, promising hefty returns to the investors.

Anyesh Roy, deputy commissioner of police, special cyber cell, said a Bangalore-based startup initiated the strategy that led to the fleecing of half a million people. “We received hundreds of complaints on social media about two apps — Power Bank and EZ Plan,” he told the media on Wednesday. “

Some complainants claimed they lost lakhs of rupees. The Power Bank app was trending on the app store with thousands of downloads.”

Offering ‘instant returns’ of five to 10 per cent, the app saw many getting hooked by the lucrative gains. But their accounts were blocked by the app. The Delhi police cyber cell opened an account on the app to trace the owner.

“Our officer posed as a customer and invested a token amount in the app,” said Roy. “We then traced the money trail. It was found the money was being transferred through 25 shell companies and several bank accounts. Our team analysed the mobile numbers linked to the bank accounts and found that one of the accused is in West Bengal.”

The cell sent a team of officers to Uluberia in West Bengal where they nabbed one Sheikh Robin. The police also arrested others in Delhi and the neighbouring cities. Two of the accused, Avik Kedia and Ronak Bansal, are chartered accountants, who have set up more than 110 shell companies, said Roy.

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