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ED arrests one more Delhi-based man in Rs 5,000-crore cyber fraud case | #cybercrime | #computerhacker


New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Tuesday said it has made a fresh arrest in an ongoing money-laundering investigation linked to the alleged duping of common people to the tune of about Rs 5,000 crore through cybercrimes and online gaming.

Punit Kumar aka Puneet Maheshwari was arrested on April 3 from Terminal 3 of the Indira Gandhi International Airport shortly after he arrived from Nepal, the agency said in a statement.

Kumar, a resident of Delhi’s Moti Nagar area, is accused of “defrauding” the general public through various cyber fraud schemes, laundering the “proceeds of crime” and siphoning those out of India, it said.

“He devised a distinctive method of defrauding individuals, utilising servers located in the UAE to orchestrate scams, with a parallel system established in India to support the syndicate’s operations in the UAE,” the agency alleged.

The man, the agency alleged, is “one of the important kingpins” within a syndicate responsible for orchestrating a series of cybercrimes and online gaming schemes across India between 2020-2024, amounting to huge illicit gains of Rs 4,978 crore — all of which has been siphoned abroad.

The accused had been “avoiding” summons issued by the ED.

The central agency last month arrested another accused in the case — Ashish Kakkar — from a hotel in Gurugram. He is lodged in jail under judicial custody at present.

The money-laundering case stems from police FIRs registered in Delhi, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana, and some others.

The agency said its investigation into cybercrime cases has found that fraudsters use different modus operandi for cheating and generation of proceeds of crime such as investment fraud, part-time job fraud, online shopping fraud and loan fraud, among others.

Among these, it said, the most prevalent modus operandi used for duping the general public through cybercrimes is to lure them into investment fraud by guaranteeing profit against investment (such as multi-marketing scheme) and providing an alluring return to develop faith in the customer.

Thereafter, they lure the customer to invest in some fraud scheme that offers handsome returns. The depositors invest their life savings and when they demand their return, the fraudsters ask them to pay another sum in the guise of certain taxation or processing fees etc, it said.

This continues until the customer himself stops investing in their fund and the fund invested or transferred to the bank accounts provided by the fraudsters is gone, the ED said.

A similar criminal act was done in this case, the ED alleged, and the proceeds of crime were “layered and accumulated” in the bank accounts of the companies or firms controlled by Kakkar and his associates and subsequently sent out of India as foreign outward remittances.

(Published 09 April 2024, 14:02 IST)

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