Fraudsters Who Duped MICA Prez Mehta Arrested

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Fraudsters Who Duped MICA Prez Mehta Arrested

| Updated: April 16, 2024 12:23

In a major breakthrough by Ahmedabad Cyber Crime branch, 13 fraudsters who duped MICA President Shailendra Mehta of Rs 1.5 crores have been arrested. The alleged mastermind is Moin Altafbhai Ingaria, 26 years old from Dhoraji, a town in Rajkot district. 

Those arrested include gang members from Rajkot’s Dhoraji, Nana Mava Main Road, Ghanteshwar, Avadh Road; from Ahmedabad’s Isanpur, Narol and Porbandar’s Kutiyana and Mahotapara.

The victim was contacted via a Skype call by an individual posing as a police officer. A counterfeit CBI warrant was used to intimidate and extort money from the victim. Leveraging cutting-edge technology, the cybercrime unit successfully traced the account of the perpetrator responsible for illicitly withdrawing funds from the victim’s bank account. 

The gang targeted Shailendra Raj Mehta, the president of Mudra Institute of Communications (MICA), Ahmedabad.  The fraudsters, posing as officers from the Mumbai Cyber Crime Cell and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), contacted Mehta via Skype. They sent him a counterfeit CBI warrant and managed to extort a hefty sum in two instalments.

The fraudsters first contacted Mehta on March 20, 2024, pretending to be police officers. They claimed that items, including passports, mobile phones, and MDMA drugs, had been sent from Mumbai to Taiwan via FedEx couriers. Using a fabricated CBI warrant, they convinced Mehta that his life was in danger and extorted over Rs. 1.15 crore from him.

Probe launched

Upon receiving a complaint, the Cyber Crime Branch of Ahmedabad city launched an investigation. The culprits were identified using a combination of technical and human intelligence. Four separate teams were dispatched to Rajkot’s Dhoraji, Upleta and Porbandar’s Kutiyana leading to the arrest of 13 persons. The investigation revealed that these individuals had duped numerous people across different states. Fourteen mobile phones have been seized from the accused.

The arrested individuals are currently under remand, with the primary suspect, Moin Altafbhai Ingaria, remanded for six days. The Cyber Crime Branch is making efforts to recover the money.

In a conversation with Vibes of India, PSI P H Makwana of the Cyber Crime Branch said that there is another suspect in the case, perhaps a superior of Moin. Other than Moin, those arrested are accused whose bank accounts were used and some middlemen. Moin and others deposited money in the suspect’s account and later withdrew from it through middlemen. Moin’s superior converted the money into crypto currency and sent it elsewhere, which is under investigation.

Moin Altafbhai Ingaria

Makwana further disclosed that the accused Moin and his source were about to flee. Both had a flight to China on April 15. Another source also belongs to Dhoraji. Mobile analysis of chats between Mihir Topia and Moin have revealed some bank account numbers. On checking, it has been found that many crimes have been registered against those accounts on the cybercrime portal. Against one account, 40 cybercrimes have been registered in different police stations in different states of the country. An investigation is ongoing to determine how many people have fallen victim to this gang

The 13 accused who have been arrested are: 

1. Mihir Ramnikbhai Topia (23), Dhoraji, Rajkot

2. Ankit Bhalabhai Desai (29), Isanpur, Ahmedabad

3.Prafulla Lovejibhai Valani (43) , Dhoraji

4.Ronak Hareshbhai Sojitra (23), Nana Mawa Main Road, Rajkot;

5. Kiran Amayabhai Desai (29), Isanpur Ahmedabad;

6. Kisha Polabhai Bharai (45), Porbandar

7. Meru Bawanbhai Karamata (24), Kutiana Porbandar;

8. Yogirajsinh Divyarajsingh Jadeja (36), Ghanteshwar, Rajkot

9. Ravi Babubhai Savseta (26), Sahakarnagar Main Road, Rajkot

10. Rohan Prahlad Leuva (26), Narol Ahmedabad

11. Rohit Jitubhai Vaghela (24), Dhoraji

12. Sagar Rameshbhai Dabhi (31), Avadh, Rajkot

13. Moin Altafbhai Ingaria (26), Dhoraji.

This crime was committed as part of a conspiracy. The main accused Moin found the account holder through a middleman, who provided his bank account for a bribe of Rs 10,000-20,000. Moin has stated that he is currently doing business by ordering items online and giving them to customers.

Call from fraudster

Shailendra Raj Mehta received a call from a man identifying himself as ‘Jason’ while he was in his office. Jason claimed that a parcel sent from Taiwan to Mehta had been intercepted by Mumbai customs. The parcel allegedly contained five passports, three mobile phones, a laptop, and 200 grams of the psychoactive drug MDMA. Jason then connected the call to Mumbai’s Cyber Crime Police hotline, where another individual, ‘Prakash’, joined the call.

Shailendra Raj Mehta

Prakash, posing as a police officer, asked Mehta if he knew Nawab Malik, who was supposedly in jail on charges of money laundering. Prakash claimed that Malik had fraudulently opened 400 bank accounts, some of which were in the names of prominent individuals, including Mehta. Mehta was also informed that his phone had been cloned.

During the conversation, Mehta was sent a letter bearing the CBI’s logo. He was told that his family was in danger and was instructed to go home. The next day, he received a call from Balsingh Rajput, who claimed to be with the Mumbai Cyber Crime Police.

Mehta was informed that he would soon receive a call from CBI officer George Mathew after a warrant was issued in his name. Mathew then called him and informed him of several suspicious transactions from his account.

Mehta was instructed to deposit Rs. 1 crore in a Quality Food Traders account and Rs. 15.11 lakh in the account of Shivam Charitable Trust. This was supposedly to ‘check whether transactions from their accounts are visible on RBI’s servers’. Mehta complied and transferred Rs. 1.15 crore through RTGS to both accounts.

When he didn’t receive his money back, he called an Internet calling application to inquire about his position. He was then told that he was speaking to an IPS officer. When Mehta pointed out that IPS was not a post, he was threatened with arrest. Mehta then checked with his bank and the nationalized bank to which he had transferred the funds and was told that the money was subsequently transferred to several other accounts. It was at this point that Mehta realized he had been cheated.

Dr Mehta is a highly respected academic, holding a master’s degree from the Delhi School of Economics, an MPhil from Oxford University, and a PhD from Harvard University. His teaching experience spans several countries, with notable work at Purdue University and IIM, Ahmedabad. 

He is ranked among the top researchers in the field of strategy in India and has done extensive research in the areas of entrepreneurship, industrial organization, information economics, and experimental economics. Dr Mehta has provided consultancy to corporations and governments worldwide, including Honeywell, IBM, Microsoft, P&G, Genpact and Infosys.

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