A 21-year-old social media influencer, who claimed on Instagram to be the president of a youth organisation, allegedly cheated families of Covid patients on the pretext of providing them oxygen cylinders at home. Delhi Police arrested the accused, Ritik Pratap Singh, and his associate from Greater Noida Tuesday.
Police said Singh claimed that he is the president of an organisation associated with the BJP called the ‘India Youth Icon Team’, though the party denied this. An Uttar Pradesh BJP spokesperson said, “We have checked from our various sources in Noida and Greater Noida. We have no such youth wing by the name of IYIT. Singh might be a party worker but he is not an active member or youth leader of the party. His claims are false.”
Delhi BJP’s media head Naveen Kumar, too, said: “He is not a member or president of any of our youth teams. His organisation is not associated with the BJP. He might claim something but we have never seen or heard of him.”
Singh, who has more than 30,000 followers on his Instagram account, allegedly cheated people of over Rs 7 lakh in the last two months. On his website, he claimed to be a mentee of a Union minister.
R Sathiyasundaram, DCP (Shahdara), said they received a PCR call from a man alleging that he contacted Singh’s outfit on Instagram for an oxygen cylinder after his mother fell sick.
“They asked for Rs 14,000 and promised to deliver two oxygen cylinders. The man and his father paid the money via Paytm but didn’t receive the cylinders,” said the DCP.
A case was registered and police traced the mobile and bank details of the accused.
“Our team found that one of the accused, Sandeep Pandey (28), a property dealer from Greater Noida, was involved in the transactions. We arrested him and recovered Rs 2.4 lakh from his bank account,” said the DCP.
“We then arrested Singh and recovered Rs 4.2 lakh from his account. He claims to be the national president of IYIT and to have 18 lakh active members in eight states. We are verifying these claims. He also runs a consultancy for college admissions in NCR,” said the DCP.