In two separate cases, two Gujarat IPS officers – including a retired inspector general of police – were impersonated on social media website Facebook by unknown persons. The accused had sought money from the victim officers’ acquaintances, following which a police investigation was launched.
Impersonating the Superintendent of Police (SP) in Aravalli, Sanjay Kharat, and the Additional Director General of Police cum Inspector General (retired) Dharmendrasinh Vaghela, unknown persons created Facebook accounts in their names after which the officers released public statements declaring the accounts as “fake”. In both the cases, the accused formed fake profiles impersonating the officers by using their pictures available in public domain and demanded money from their family members and acquaintances.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Vaghela said that the fake account on Facebook was brought to his notice on Wednesday morning by his friends who were alerted by a ‘friend request’ sent to them by Facebook user ‘Veghela Dharmendrasinh IPS’.
“My name on Facebook is Vaghela Dharmendrasinh IPS. The impersonator tweaked one letter of my surname and put it as ‘Veghela’ to run the fake account. He also put up two pictures of mine. The account was active for the past few days and it had sent friend requests to many of my acquaintances. Later. the account holder started asking Rs 25,000 from my acquaintances, claiming that I am in dire need of money and shared many phone numbers of PayTM accounts. One of my junior officers was convinced and even went to the bank on Wednesday to deposit the money, but it was closed due to Janmashtami. After I was alerted, I put out a public statement saying that this particular account is fake and got police authorities to shut it down,” said Vaghela.
An official police investigation has been launched by the Cyber Crime Cell of Ahmedabad Police in the impersonation case of Vaghela, police said. However, an FIR is yet to be lodged.
In another case, Aravalli SP Sanjay Kharat was also impersonated on Facebook wherein the accused also sought money from his acquaintances.
“The accused had saved pictures of mine from my training and police force joining days and created a fake account. The account holder then sent a friend request to my friends and family and later demanded money from them. I put out a statement that a certain account is impersonating me and asking money from people I know. We have reported the Facebook accounts. An FIR has been filed at Modasa Town police station under IPC sections 420 for fraud and 406 for criminal breach of trust, along with sections of the IT Act against unknown persons. The Cyber Crime team and local crime branch of Aravalli police are probing the case,” said Kharat.
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