Three persons, including two Nigerian nationals, have been arrested from Mumbai for allegedly duping people on the pretext of selling herbal seeds, useful for cancer research. The incident came to light after S Rahul, a resident of Sarita Vihar, who was looking to start his own business, approached police alleging that he was cheated of Rs 13 lakh by a person who had contacted him on a social networking website.
The arrested accused have been identified as George Ike, Ugwuele Bright Onyeka and Vishal Sharma, police said. “They would use the woman member of the gang interact with men and vice-versa. The complainant was contacted by one Armand Linda on Facebook,” said an officer privy to the details of the case.
Elaborating on the case, police said the two became friendly and started chatting often. The woman had told the complainant that she worked in the United Kingdom as an assistant purchase manager at a pharmaceutical firm named Health Pro Pharmaceutical Company. After interacting with him on a regular basis, the woman told the complainant that her company wanted to purchase a type of herbal root seeds that are being used for “research of cancer treatment”.
The complainant told police that the woman asked him to purchase the seeds from a trader in Mumbai at low rates and sell it to them at higher rates. She even offered to share the profit. The woman then provided him the email ID of one Anitha Sharma of Sharma Traders in Mumbai. The complainant then contacted Sharma and finalised the deal. Soon after, the complainant transferred Rs 13,04,700 to Sharma’s bank account as advance payment for five packets of seeds, police said.
Ike, who posed as Dr Cosmos Brown, the purchase manager of the company, visited Rahul’s house, checked the seeds and agreed to purchase them. On his directions, the complainant formed a proprietorship firm. However, after the firm was formed, the company told him that they would go ahead with the business deal only if he supplies them 50 packets,” police added.
After putting forth this demand, they disappeared and their phone numbers became unreachable. “Rahul then filed a police complaint and the investigation was taken up,” the officer said.
Tracing the details of the bank account where the money was transferred, police caught hold of Sharma and arrested him from Mumbai on June 23. On June 28, two of the other accused, Ike and Onyeka, were arrested from Navi Mumbai.
“We suspect the involvement of more people and are verifying if Linda and Anitha are the real names of the two women who interacted with the complainant. Their mobile phones have been seized. The Nigerian nationals were found to be living here without valid visas,” the officer added.