Vikash Sharma

The Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the Odisha Crime Branch has cracked an interstate cyber-crime gang involved in cheating people by running OLX, job and sextortion racket. Two criminals of the gang have been arrested from Alwar under Ramgarh police station with assistance from Rajasthan Police.

The accused have been identified as Mahmud Khan and Munfed Khan. The duo was arrested based on complaint filed regarding opening of mule accounts with Indian Post Bank (IPPB) in the name of innocent persons in Nabarangpur district.

Sources said that the gang has opened about 2000 mule accounts in different parts of the country, mainly in Odisha, West Bengal, Bihar and Assam.

Another person from Mayurbhanj has also been arrested on the charges of supplying SIM cards to the Rajasthan-based criminals. The accused Anil Khiller had allegedly procured and sent around 1200 SIM cards to the accused.

The mule accounts in Nabarangpur were opened by the criminals by giving impression that the concerned account holders will get monetary benefits under various government schemes. However, the accused used these accounts for illegal monetary transactions including various cyber crimes without the knowledge of the account holders.

“We had initially arrested 5 locals and subquently found that a gang was behind this. The gang used to target backward areas of various states for creating mule accounts using fake SIM cards. Another gang used to use the fake SIMs to commit various cyber crimes,” EOW DIG JN Pankaj.

Preliminary investigation had revealed that the criminals from Rajasthan with help of several local youths had created several mule accounts Indian Post Bank (IPPB) by using Aadhaar, PAN and photographs of innocent villagers. These accounts were connected with different SIM card provided by the criminals from Rajasthan.

Earlier, five local accused were arrested in connection with the case. It has been ascertained that the local youths were paid Rs 2,000 by the criminals for each account.

“The accused Mahmud Khan received Rs 62 lakh remitted through the mule accounts fraudulently opened with Indian Post Bank (IPPB) in Nabarangpur.

How The Criminals Operated?

The cyber criminals from Rajathan’s Alwar used to procure fake SIM cards at Rs 300 per SIM from Odisha and West Bengal. There are 10 to 15 persons involved in managing the fake SIM business in Alwar.

After getting the SIMs from Odisha ad West Bengal, the accused used to sell them at Rs 1,000 each in Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh for various frauds- OLX fraud, job fraud, nude video call fraud and other crimes. These fake SIMs were also used to open different wallets for transaction of money received from such frauds.

Scamsters also opened Facebook page by linking WhatsApp by paying the advertising money to Facebook. The Facebook page was created for selling/ purchasing old antique coin/ notes. If any persons hared their mobile number with an intention of buy notes/ coins, the accused used to contact them and dupe them.

(Reported By Alok Mohanty)