A day after the CID made its third arrest in the lottery racket case, it revealed that the amount swindled is estimated to be in the crores.
Farhan Khan (28), a resident of Siwan in Bihar, was staying at a rented house in Park Circus at the time of his arrest.
“They had agents who would convince people to open bank accounts in their names, which would be operated by the accused. They used to pay a nominal sum to the account holder. The accused would call people and tell them they have won a lottery. To win the confidence of the victims, they would send videos and photos of cash after which they used to ask for a processing fee. The fee ranged from Rs 10,000 to Rs 50,000 in instalments,” said DIG CID (Operations) Nishat Parvez.
Searches were also conducted at the residential premises of the accused and the head office of PRAN Beverages in New Town.
CID sources said the accused had recently deposited a sum of Rs 55 lakh in the company’s account, and that they had seized several documents to probe the company’s involvement.
Meanwhile, PRAN Beverages issued a statement Tuesday saying it is not involved in the racket. “Our attention has been drawn to the news of arrest of two officials – Rajesh Ghosh and Bidhan Kirtaniya of PRAN Beverages (India) Private Limited – and their alleged involvement with a fake lottery scam. There is no involvement of…the company in this case. It is their own responsibility if the arrestees were involved with any type of criminal activities or any other misconduct that they may have committed,” said Shubhan Majumdar, Legal Officer and Public Relations Officer of the company.
Sources said the accused are linked to a Howrah money laundering case, in which seven people were arrested. Police tracked SIM cards seized in the Howrah case in order to bust the lottery racket in Kolkata.
Investigating officers believe that the seven arrested in the Howrah racket case are part of a bigger operation to route cash via a hawala route to agents in Pakistan and other countries.