A family’s bid to get a 23-year-old enlisted into the Army in the wake of the Balakot airstrike backfired after a man posing as a Lieutenant Colonel duped them of Rs 3.54 lakh.
According to police, the family of Shatrugan Prasad initially wanted him to join the police, but became more inclined towards the armed forces as tensions rose between India and Pakistan.
Since Shatrugan’s elder brother Santosh Prasad did not know the recruitment process, he relied on the accused, who posed as a Lt-Colonel and always sported Army fatigues. He promised to get Shatrugan recruited and asked for Rs 3.54 lakh for forms and medical tests, police said.
The accused also made an email account, firstname.lastname@example.org, and told the complainant that it was the official government ID. He also provided them with an account number and asked them to transfer money there.
A case has been registered at Nabi Karim police station under IPC sections 419 (punishment for cheating by personation), 420 and 34.
“The complainant has claimed that the accused, Prabhat Raj, and another man posing as his driver, Nandan Singh, have duped other people as well. We believe they approached youths in rural Haryana by offering jobs in the Army,” said a senior police officer.
Santosh relied on word of mouth of people from his village in Haryana, who claimed that two other youths got enlisted in the Army with Raj’s help. The accused told Santosh he could get his younger brother enlisted “through staff quota”.
“He told me there was just one seat left and I have to immediately pay Rs 50,000, which we did through a series of online transactions. He then sent us an appointment letter via e-mail and asked for more money for documentation work and a medical test,” alleged Santosh.
He borrowed money from his relatives and friends. “I told them it was my dream to get my brother enlisted in the Army. After the recent tensions between India and Pakistan, I was sure my brother would do our family proud in the battlefield,” Santosh said.
“The accused claimed to be from a family of high-ranking officers, and made up stories of his Army stint to convince them to give the money,” said the officer.