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News: 2.35cr fraud: Man held from Noida


News: 2.35cr fraud: Man held from Noida

Bhubaneswar: The economic offences wing (EOW) of the Crime Branch on Sunday arrested a cyber criminal from Noida for allegedly duping a Keonjhar businessman of Rs 2.35 crore by luring him with the promise of high returns for a life insurance policy he had bought.

The accused was identified as Himanshu Bhandari. He was brought to Odisha on a transit remand after being produced before the additional chief judicial magistrate (first), Surajpur court, in Greater Noida.

Pramod Kumar Rout (58), a businessman from Joda in mineral-rich Keonjhar district, had bought an insurance policy in March 2012.

He received a call in October 2019 from one A K Walia, who posed as a senior official from the ministry of finance (funds releasing division) posted in Hyderabad.

“Bhandari, who identified himself as Walia, told Rout that he had been selected to receive Rs 3 crore from the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund towards his life insurance policy. He then sent Rout a letter issued by Suresh Mathur of the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA). Bhandari asked Rout to pay some lakhs of rupees as dues,” an EOW official said.

Rout ignored the letter and kept quiet about it. After some days, he was flooded with calls from different numbers and men, who introduced themselves as officials of the finance ministry and the IRDA. They warned Rout that his accounts will be frozen if he did not pay the dues.

Out of fear, Rout agreed to pay the money. Without verifying the credentials of the unknown callers, Rout transferred Rs 2.35 crore from November 19, 2019, to February 4, 2021, to some accounts shared by Bhandari.

Last year, the gang sent two demand drafts worth Rs 1.98 crore to Rout. But they turned out to be fake, the EOW official said.

Rout waited for some months and hoped to receive the promised money. When he realised that he had been taken for a ride, he lodged a complaint with the EOW last month. The EOW gathered clues about Bhandari by trailing the banking transactions between Rout and the fraudsters. The probe agency said efforts were on to arrest his associates.


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