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A gang of 21 alleged cyber frauds hailing from five different states were arrested from an apartment in Ranchi on Wednesday during a joint raid by Jharkhand and Karnataka police. Their ring leader, identified as Karu Singh from Bihar, escaped and a search was on for him, the police said. The others hail from Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Bihar.
According to police sources, the gang had moved to the apartment in the Jagannathpur area of Ranchi in groups, posing as engineering students. Initial interrogation of some gang members has revealed that they would call up unsuspecting people posing as bank officials and lure them with promises of jobs and lottery wins, said a police source. They would try to acquire bank account numbers and passwords or would tell their prospective victims to deposit cash in a certain account. They had supposedly amassed a couple of crores by cheating people using such methods.
The police found laptops, printers, 65 mobile phones, several ATM cards and thousands of rupees in cash from the accused. All the accused were produced in a city court on Thursday that granted transit remand to Karnataka police who will take them to the southern state on Friday as they were wanted in a case registered in Chikamagalur district.
The police in Chikmagalur was trying to track down the gang after the wife of a police officer lodged a case who was allegedly duped of Rs 1.5 lakh by the accused on the promise of being offered a job. The surveillance of mobile phone numbers led the Karnataka police to Ranchi. They got in touch with their Ranchi counterparts and mounted a joint raid on Wednesday evening. “It has come to light that they had rented an accommodation over 45 days ago,” said Hatia Deputy Superintendent of Police Vikas Kumar Pandey, who led the raid. He confirmed that a hunt was on for kingpin Karu Singh.
Of those arrested, six were from Karnataka, nine from Telangana, four from Tamil Nadu and one each from Andhra Pradesh and Bihar. “They would make gang members well-versed in Hindi negotiate for rented accommodation and after settling in, they would dupe people by making telephone calls from different SIMs,” said a police officer. The officer added that the gang members would pose as bank officials to get account details of the customers, promise lottery wins and jobs.