STF arrests mastermind of gang duping people of southern States 

Monday, 15 APRIL 2024 | PNS | DEHRADUN

The Uttarakhand Special Task Force (STF) arrested the mastermind of the gang that was duping people of southern States under the pretext of providing loans under the Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana (PMMY) from Dehradun. The mastermind has been identified as Deepak Raj Sharma whose gang was working from Dehradun’s Premnagar area for the past several months in an organised manner, the STF senior superintendent of police Ayush Agrawal said. He informed that the gang mainly targeted victims of southern States like Karnataka, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. The victims had registered complaints about cyber fraud on the government’s portal. Sharma had appointed local men from States like Telangana and Andhra Pradesh to make it easier to gain the victims’ trust before duping them. The STF arrested two accused of the gang a week ago but had failed to nab Sharma. The STF received a tip-off about Sharma hiding in Mathura in Uttar Pradesh considering which, a team was sent there and he was arrested from there late on Saturday. 
So far, the STF has recovered Rs 1.31 lakh cash, 23 mobile phones, 18 ATM cards, 71 SIM cards, two bank passbooks and 14 account books worth lakhs of rupees from the gang. The SSP said that Sharma told the police that he came to Dehradun from UP about eight years ago and after working as a security guard for some time, he started working in a call centre in Dehradun. The call centre used to cheat people in the name of installing towers for different companies from where he learned to dupe people. He was arrested in 2015 by Selaqui police in the cyber fraud case. After he was released, he opened his call centre in 2022 near Anurag Chowk in Vasant Vihar from where he again started cyber online fraud in the name of PMMY but police arrested him and his gang again. In June 2023, he started this work again after coming out on bail and targeted southern states. The SSP said that the STF’s cyber crime team busted the gang with the help of the central government’s Pratibimb portal. He informed that the Pratibimb portal enables the authorities to know about cyber criminals active in their respective areas. This helps to eradicate any gang that can get bigger with time. Agrawal said that the accused has provided crucial information about more people involved in cyber fraud in the State. The STF will act against them accordingly, he added.

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