With the arrest of 11 men, the Gautam Buddh Nagar police on Wednesday claimed to have busted an inter-state gang that duped Army veterans by offering them fake group insurance policies and investment schemes.
Cash worth Rs 3.39 lakh, 50 debit and credit cards, 11 Aadhaar cards (two of which are suspected to be fake), seven PAN cards, 36 mobile phones, among other things, have been seized from the possession of the gang, the police said.
An account operated by the gang, which had Rs 2.8 lakh in it, has also been frozen, they said.
"The 11-member gang was operating from a flat in Greater Noida Extension and was nabbed by the Cyber Cell after it received complaints from three Army veterans," Senior Superintendent of Police Ajay Pal Sharma told reporters.
"During initial interrogation, more than half of them confessed that they have been jailed previously in Jaipur, Rajasthan, and Pune, Maharashtra, for similar offences," the SSP said.
In the recent times, they have targeted veterans in Delhi, Noida, Greater Noida, Ghaziabad and Rajasthan, he said, adding that it is suspected that they could have targeted people across India and money they made through the fraud could run into crores.
"We are still in the process of tracing their bank accounts and unearthing other frauds, for which they are being interrogated," Sharma said.
Explaining their modus operandi, Pavan, the second-in-command of the gang, told reporters that they would obtain data about the retired Army officials using Google and then call them up to offer "insurance schemes".
"It is very easy to obtain the data and other information. It is available online," the B.Com graduate, who earlier worked in a call centre, said.
The police said the gang made very lucrative "custom-made" offers to their targets. The gang would find out where has the veteran served previously and made offers accordingly in order to sound credible.
"Suppose they knew someone served in Kargil or during the 1971 war, they would tell them the government or the RBI has launched a special scheme for retired soldiers who have served in Kargil or during the 1971 battle," SSP Sharma said.
Brigadier (retd) J K Bahl, Major General (retd) KK Sehgal and Colonel (retd) Vinay Khanna had approached Sector 20 police station as well as the Cyber Cell alleging that in the name of group insurance they have been duped of Rs 9 lakh, 2.88 lakh and 21 lakh, respectively, he said.
"The accused were arrested from Panchsheel Society in Greater Noida today in a joint operation by the Cyber Cell, which was led by Mohd Zaheer Khan, and Sector 20 police station team, led by Jayveer Singh," the SSP said.
"Working on the complaint, the team had mobilised its sources and also put the gang on surveillance," he added.
The district police chief said a probe has also been launched over the two "apparently suspicious and fake" Aadhaar cards which were seized from the gang.
All 11 arrested persons, booked for cheating and fraud, have been remanded in judicial custody, the police said.
(With inputs from agencies.)