Mumbai Police has arrested a 23-year-old man for allegedly duping customers under the pretext of conducting the Know Your Customer (KYC) verification for their Paytm accounts. After getting hold of their One Time Passwords (OTPs), the accused would create customers’ dummy accounts and transfer the money from their e-wallet. The accused, identified as Shivkumar Gupta, was arrested from his Kurla residence on Monday. Police said he was a third-party associate of the company since 2016, but was sacked in December 2017, after Paytm officials learnt about the duping.
Police confirmed that Paytm had engaged a private firm to appoint field employees. It was this firm that Gupta was employed with. Investigators suspect that several other persons may be involved in the fraud. In one of the cases registered with the Kurla-based V B Nagar police station, the complainant Sachin Sutar, a hotel owner, was duped of money. An officer from VB Nagar police station said, “The complainant owns a hotel in Kurla, Gupta approached him under the pretext of opening a retail Paytm account of his hotel. The accused informed him about the advantages of having a Paytm account, following which, he downloaded an application on his mobile phone and opened an account. Sutar being less educated, told him his password.” The accused memorised the password, following which, he used Sutar’s Paytm account and transferred the money to another account.
The complainant in his statement to police said, “On December 19, I transferred Rs 5,000 on my Paytm account. I sent some money to a friend. But on December 22, the remaining amount got transferred to some ‘Lucky Restaurant’. When didn’t understand what was happening, I tried calling Gupta, who, I realised, had blocked my phone number. I sensed something fishy and reported the incident to the Paytm customer care.” Another businessman, Suresh Bhanushali, complained to the police, saying, “In October last year, Gupta had approached Bhanushali, asking him to create a Paytm account. However, Gupta waited at his shop, obtained his SIM card, and fraudulently created Bhanushali’s Paytm account, after seeking his OTP, which was sent on his phone number. Gupta started using the account without Bhanushali’s knowledge,” said an officer.
“We got the information on the accused as Gupta was a common person in both the cases. So as part of investigation, we even called the officials of the company and got his address. We realized that the accused had given a wrong address,” said an investigator.
Police sub-inspector Anil Kamble and Nitin Randheve traced the accused using local informers following which the accused was nabbed from Kurla Gaondevi residence. Senior police inspector Bharat Bhoite from VB Nagar police station confirmed the arrest. When contacted, Paytm officials refused to comment. The accused has been booked under sections 419 (punishment for cheating by personation) and 420 (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property) of the Indian Penal Code along with under relevant sections of IT Act. He was produced in Kurla Court and has been remanded to police custody till March 16.