THE Roorkee police, in district Hardwar, Uttarakhand, have busted an international Islamic gang of cheats, operating from the land of Pakistan and Saudi Arab for past a couple of years in order to cheat gullible Indians of hundreds of crore rupees. The city police have nabbed a key Pakistani operative, though of Indian origin, on February 10. The gang was also involved in sending Indian currency every week obtained in massive loot across the border to Pakistan, Dubai and Saudi Arabia through hawala.
An Indian national Jai Prakash Ruhela, acting as a Pakistani agent, has been nabbed by the police in this connection, said DIG Dehradun Range Amit Kumar Sinha. Ruhela’s accomplices used to send SMS to people misinforming them that they had won a lucky draw, in which they had never participated. Ruhela, with aid of his accomplices from across the border, used to search mobile phone numbers across India and get the unsuspecting and gullible victims to deposit ‘processing fee’ prior to collect the prize money in fake bank accounts opened by the Islamic network’s agents across India. Later, he withdrew the money and send the Indian currency through hawala networks operating from Delhi to Pakistan and other Islamic nations, said DIG Amit Sinha.
Police are suspecting that there could be Pakistan’s notorious intelligence service ISI, or other Islamic terrorist outfits’ hand behind the massive cheating network, through which they might have found a new means of funding their nefarious activities against India. The accused Ruhela is in police custody for further interrogation. Police said 27-year-old accused Ruhela is a native of neighbouring district Muzaffarnagar in UP, who is the north-zone head of international Islamic cheating racket. This is the first instance of a Hindu man working for an Islamic organisation outside Jammu & Kashmir. In J&K, however, a host of Hindu youths are working as the jehadis after being lured into the fold of various Islamic terrorist out fits having allegiance to Pakistan. Besides Uttarakhand, the network has also spread to Delhi, Rajasthan, Haryana, Punjab, Chandigarh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh and various southern states.
DIG Amit Kumar Sinha has announced a cash reward of Rs 5000 to Roorkee Police and the Special Operation group team responsible for arresting the key operative of the racket. Sinha said the police had been getting complaints for a long time about the loot by this network through fraud from Garhwal as well as Kumaon regions. Sinha admitted that kingpin of the gang was operating from different call centres in Pakistan; the gangsters in Pakistan search contact numbers of the people in India through internet. Then, they pass on those mobile numbers to their Indian agents who inform the gullible people about their winning the lottery prize in which they had never participated, and ask them to deposit the ‘processing fee’ of the lottery prize in their fake accounts, which were opened by their agents across various states in India through fraudulent means. The network has already enlisted hundreds of agents in small towns and villages across Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Haryana, Punjab and Delhi etc. The Uttarakhand police are gathering further information about the entire chain of agents operating in the Himalayan state; soon legal action would be initiated against them, said DIG Sinha.
The police team arrested Ruhela on February10 when he was withdrawing cash from a State Bank of India (SBI) ATM booth in Roorkee. In a raid at his rented accommodation at Mohanpura in Roorkee city, the police team also recovered Rs 4, 72, 000 in cash, 132 ATM cards of different banks, four mobile phones, dozens of SIM cards, and186-page details of various bank accounts, scanned copies of ATM cards to be e-mailed to Pakistan, one luxury car and one two-wheeler. However, his two other accomplices have escaped the police dragnet, and are still at large. The accused Ruhela was making Rs 25 lakh every week through his cheating activity. The DIG Sinha said the help of national investigating agencies like NIA and Enforcement Department would also be taken in view of the enormity of the racket. The accused Ruhela has admitted to be part of a syndicated module operating from Pakistan of which he was the north zone head; Ruhela also disclosed name of other zonal heads, agents and hawala traders associated with the Pakistani network.
Ruhela admitted that Pakistanis are running the syndicate to damage the Indian economy. To run the racket, call centres have been set up in Pakistan and Saudi Arab, and hundreds of agents have been appointed across various states of India. As the north zone head Ruhela drew a salary of Rs 15,000 per month along with 10 per cent commission on the cash withdrawn from the bank ATMs which amounted to Rs 25 to 30 lakh per week. The ATM cards recovered from Ruhela’s possession were issued in the name of people in Bihar, Orissa and West Bengal, which were meant to be used in ATMs in Roorkee and the nearby areas. Ruhela further revealed that the sum combined withdrawn per week by all other zonal heads in India ran into crores of rupees which was being transferred through hawala to Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and other Islamic countries from New Delhi.