Hyderabad man who allegedly duped 150 people of Rs 2 crore arrested by cops

The Hyderabad police on Tuesday uncovered a major racket after the arrest of one man, who allegedly cheated several people by collecting their bank account details and One Time Passwords (OTPs) in the guise of providing loans and jobs. The police said that the accused swindled over 150 people of Rs 2 crore, over a span of two years.

The accused was identified as 27-year-old Srinivas Rao, a resident of Amberpet in Hyderabad, who hails from East Godavari District in Andhra Pradesh.

The police in a press note said that Srinivas had cases against him at 20 police stations across the Telugu states. This included police stations in Amberpet, Nizamabad, Kothagudem, Mangalagiri, Visakhapatnam, Nellore, Tirupati, Rajahmundry, West Godavari, East Godavari, Kadapa and Kurnool.

The police said that Srinivas completed his education in the year 2016, and was a Masters engineering graduate.

"After completion of studies, he started searching for a job. As he could not get one, he fell into a financial crisis. Then in the year 2016, he hatched a plan to earn easy money by cheating. In pursuance of his plan, he cheated several persons in the name of matrimonial consultancy. A case was registered at Kakinada II Town Police Station of East Godavari, where he was arrested and let off on bail," a police press note stated.

Investigation officials said that he shifted to Hyderabad in 2017, and procured several SIM cards, before giving advertisements in Telugu newspapers in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, about providing jobs and visas. 

Modus Operandi

Speaking about his modus operandi, the police said that he would introduce himself with a false name to job seekers, and claim to run a finance company, which provided loans with a low rate of interest.

"He informs the victims that in order to process the loan, the applicant needs to show the minimum bank balance of Rs 10,000 for every Rs 1,00,000 loan or Rs. 20,000 for every Rs 2,00,000 loan to be taken. He then collects the copies of bank passbooks, ATM cards and PIN numbers from the callers via WhatsApp, and makes them believe that loan application is approved," the police said.

"In the meantime, he processes an online payment using the credentials of the victims and once the OTP is sent to the victim’s phone number, he obtains the OTP stating that the amount will be credited immediately. In a few cases, he used a few online tools to route the SMS received by the victim’s mobile to the app and used to collect the OTPs even without the knowledge of the victim," the police added.

Following this, he would transfer the money to different bank accounts and withdraw it from different ATMs in Hyderabad, while hiding his face with a handkerchief or a cap to avoid being caught. 

The police said that he would also shift residences frequently, to avoid being caught.

"Except for the phone conversation, he never turned up before the victims nor established any office. There was virtually no clue left by the accused in this case. The accused always used the SIM cards, bank accounts, ATM cards and online payment apps by impersonation," the police said. 

However, investigation officials said that they had checked over 600 CCTV cameras and analysed data from tower dumps, to zero down on his location at Amberpet, and nabbed him. 

The police seized cash worth Rs 11.5 lakh from the accused, besides 12 mobile phones, 29 SIM cards, one laptop, one bike and 3 ATM cards.

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