Retired Pharma Executive Defrauded of ₹85 Lakh by Posing Officers via Skype in Visakhapatnam

A retired senior executive of a Germany-headquartered pharmaceutical firm became the victim of a meticulously crafted fraud, losing ₹85 lakh to a gang that posed as officials from the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), customs, narcotics, and income-tax departments. The entire scheme unfolded through Skype calls, with the fraudsters using deception and intimidation to trick the victim into transferring funds.

According to the First Information Report (FIR) filed with the police in Visakhapatnam, the fraudsters transferred the stolen ₹85 lakh to 105 different accounts across India from an HDFC Bank account operated by ‘Rana Garments.’ Investigations are ongoing in both Visakhapatnam, where the fraud occurred, and Delhi, where the fraudulent cheque was processed.

The 57-year-old retired executive described the ordeal, stating that he had voluntarily retired with three years of service remaining to focus on preparing his son for college abroad. He received his retirement settlement on May 2, and his son’s visa appointment was scheduled for May 17. However, on May 14, the gang posing as government officials tricked him into sending ₹85 lakh, assuring him that it would be returned after verifying his records.

The Visakhapatnam Crime Branch has taken over the investigation and has reportedly obtained some leads. The retired executive suspects insider involvement within the Visakhapatnam bank branch, as the gang seemed to have detailed knowledge of his account, including the exact retirement payout.

The fraudulent cheque was made out to a Delhi-based company, which facilitated the distribution of ₹85 lakh to 105 accounts across India. The retired executive reported that the Crime Branch had collected several documents from the HDFC Bank branch in Visakhapatnam, but bank officials declined to comment on the investigation’s progress.

According to the FIR, the victim received a call from a man posing as “DCP Cyber Crime, Balsing Rajput” after his retirement savings were credited to his HDFC Bank account. The caller claimed that the retired officer’s name was linked to several narcotics and money laundering cases and that his Aadhaar was associated with these crimes. The fake DCP then connected to another person pretending to be his senior, who suggested filing an FIR against the retired man.

The retired officer described the intense pressure and threats he faced, fearing immediate imprisonment. The fake DCP, after consulting with his fake boss, stated that the victim appeared innocent and proposed taking ₹85 lakh for investigation, promising to return it if the police found nothing amiss. The victim’s interrogation via Skype lasted two days, during which he was not allowed to leave home or contact anyone.

Eventually, the retired officer was persuaded to deposit the cheque at the HDFC Bank branch in Visakhapatnam after receiving assurances from the impostors that the funds would be returned after verification.

As of now, there is no information regarding whether the police have tracked any of the 105 accounts where the ₹85 lakh was transferred. The retired officer has cautioned people against answering WhatsApp video calls from unknown numbers, highlighting that the fraud amount received by the Visakhapatnam cyber police in just one month reached ₹300 crore.

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