Mrunal Manmay Dash

The manager of a private hospital in Cuttack was duped of Rs 46,000 by a cyber fraudster who posed as Odisha Agriculture Minister Ranendra Pratap Swain.

The accused has been identified as Soumyaranjan Pradhan alias Sulagna of Kishornagar in Angul. The accused is a transgender.

As per reports, the Manager of the hospital received a telephonic call from an unknown mobile number who posed himself as the PA to Minister Ranendra Pratap Swain citing an urgent matter and said the Minister wished to speak to her personally. After that the fraudster spoke to her in the disguised voice of the Minister and told her that a pious and religious lady was organising puja and havan for which she required ghee weighing around 31 kg.

The imposter disguised as Swain asked her to contribute the ghee which amounted to Rs 46,000 to the havan as a goodwill gesture. However, after paying the money through a UPI app, she discovered that there was no call from the actual Minister or his PA and she has been duped. When she called back to the said number, it was found switched off.

The police sprang into action after receiving the complaint from the hospital manager. During the investigation, the police found that the accused had been to Delhi two years ago where he learned how to commit cyber crime. After returning to Odisha he had been to the residence of Ranendra Pratap Swain with his Kinnar Group seeking donation where she learnt the style of talking of the Minister.

As per the police, more than 100 people have been duped by the accused till now who siphoned off more than Rs 10 lakh from them.

The accused has been forwarded to the court after arrest.