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Punjab Police busts International cyber fraud racket; 2 Nigerians held

Chandigarh (Punjab) : Punjab Police in a joint operation with Delhi Police on Thursday busted an international cyber fraud racket and arrested two Nigerian nationals from the national capital. "With the arrest of two Nigerian men from Delhi, the Cyber Crime Cell of the Punjab Police has successfully managed to bust an International Cyber Fraud Racket wherein imposters were using profiles pictures and names of VVIPs on their WhatsApp profiles to dupe government officials and common people," Gaurav Yadav, Director General of Police (DGP), Punjab said. According to the police, the imposters used to send personal WhatsApp message to the people, seeking financial favours in the forms of Amazon gift cards, Paytm, or any other digital payment method, and with this, they have duped numerous people by impersonating as Cabinet Ministers, DGP Punjab, Chief Secretary Punjab, and other IAS/IPS officers in the few months. "With these arrests, the Punjab Police has dug up another trail that led to a deep-rooted cyber fraud nexus spreading from Delhi and involving mainly Nigerian nationals with a sprinkling of Indian associates," DGP Gaurav Yadav added. The persons arrested have been identified as Anioke Hyginus Okwudili alias Poka and Franklyn alias William, both residents of Lagos in Nigeria, who were currently residing in the national capital. The Police have recovered one Canara Bank Debit Card, various gadgets, mobile phones, laptops, expensive watches, and passports, from their possession. "After an extensive hi-tech investigation and reliable information from WhatsApp, the State Cyber Cell had got some major leads following which three different Police teams were constituted and were assigned the tasks of Financial, Technical and Fieldwork to investigate and nab the accused persons," IG Cyber Crime RK Jaiswal said.Jaiswal further added, "under the supervision of Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Cyber Crime Samarpal Singh comprising of two inspectors and other police personnel were sent to Delhi." The IGP further said that the Punjab Police in a joint operation with Delhi Police managed to catch Poka red-handed while he was withdrawing money from an ATM near Vikaspuri in Delhi. "During the interrogation, accused Anioke alias Poka revealed that WhatsApp accounts were hacked from Nigeria and he used to withdraw the money with the help of ATM cards of bank accounts opened by using fake documents in different parts of the country; the money was later handed over to their kingpin namely Franklin alias William, who further used to electronically transfer the money to Nigeria," IGP said while adding that the police have also arrested Franklyn after a hot chase. "The State Cyber division of Punjab Police have made their first arrest across India, relating to these frauds and another startling aspect of the case is Nigerians being associated with such finesse level of White Collar Crimes," Jaiswal added. Pertinently, the team of the State Cyber Crime Cell also conducted raids in the states including Assam, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, and the regions of Jind and Alwar to nab the culprits. Revealing further investigations, DIG Cyber Crime Nilambari Jagadale said that the arrest of the kingpin was accompanied by a recovery of almost 108 GB of data opened in a realm of information revealing the magnanimity of the financial transactions amounting to lakhs of rupees every day. "The information containing screenshots of the allegedly impersonated IDs and transactions amounting to crores of rupees recovered has been sent for forensic analysis for further probe into drug linkage, Hawala transactions, and modus operandi of the entire realm of operations," she said. During the course of investigations, initially, two bank accounts were identified, whose statements revealed that the money from these accounts was further siphoned to four other bank accounts and thereafter to 11 bank accounts, thus putting a network of extensive layering, the DIG said, adding "After breaking this mesh layering network, it was found that the money was being withdrawn from multiple ATMs from the area of Vikaspuri, Ganesh Nagar, Tilak Nagar and Nangloi in New Delhi." Meanwhile, the Cyber Crime Cell had already registered four FIRs for such fraud that recently took place.

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