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Cyber fraud case: ED arrests one more Delhi-based man in Rs 5,000-crore money-laundering investigation

The man is said to be one of the important kingpins within a syndicate responsible for orchestrating a series of cybercrimes and online gaming schemes across India between 2020-2024, amounting to huge illicit gains of Rs 4,978 crore.

Edited By: Anurag Roushan @Candid_Tilaiyan New Delhi Published on: April 09, 2024 19:37 IST
ED arrests one more Delhi-based man in Rs 5,000-crore money-laundering investigation
Image Source : FILE The image has been used for representative purposes only.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) made a fresh arrest in an ongoing investigation related to money laundering, reportedly involving the swindling of ordinary citizens to the tune of approximately Rs 5,000 crore through cybercrimes and online gaming. According to the agency's statement, Punit Kumar was apprehended on April 3 at the Indira Gandhi International Airport upon his arrival from Nepal. Kumar, residing in Delhi's Moti Nagar locality, stands accused of orchestrating various cyber fraud schemes, laundering illicit proceeds, and transferring them out of India.

What did the ED say? 

"He devised a distinctive method of defrauding individuals, utilising servers located in the UAE to orchestrate scams, with a parallel system established in India to support the syndicate's operations in the UAE," the agency alleged. The man, the agency alleged, is "one of the important kingpins" within a syndicate responsible for orchestrating a series of cybercrimes and online gaming schemes across India between 2020-2024, amounting to huge illicit gains of Rs 4,978 crore -- all of which has been siphoned abroad. The accused had been "avoiding" summons issued by the Enforcement Directorate (ED). 

The central agency last month arrested another accused in the case -- Ashish Kakkar -- from a hotel in Gurugram. He is lodged in jail under judicial custody at present. The money-laundering case stems from police FIRs registered in Delhi, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana, and some others.

ED on fraudsters' modus operandi

The agency said its investigation into cybercrime cases has found that fraudsters use different modus operandi for cheating and generation of proceeds of crime such as investment fraud, part-time job fraud, online shopping fraud and loan fraud, among others.

Among these, it said, the most prevalent modus operandi used for duping the general public through cybercrimes is to lure them into investment fraud by guaranteeing profit against investment (such as multi-marketing scheme) and providing an alluring return to develop faith in the customer.

Subsequently, the victims are enticed to invest in fraudulent schemes promising substantial returns. Depositors often invest their life savings, only to be asked for further payments under the guise of taxes or processing fees when they request returns, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) stated. This cycle continues until the depositor ceases to invest, leaving the funds transferred to the fraudsters' provided bank accounts depleted, according to the ED.

The ED further alleged that a similar modus operandi was employed in this case, with the illicit proceeds being funnelled and accumulated in bank accounts controlled by Kakkar and his associates' companies or firms. These funds were then sent out of India as foreign outward remittances.

(With inputs from PTI)

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