Bengaluru: Woman lawyer on ‘video arrest’ loses ₹14.57 lakh, forced to strip for ‘forensic test’

On 4 April, she was asked to transfer ₹10,78,993 from her bank account to the account holder named Nithin Joseph, which she diligently did.


Published Apr 10, 2024 | 11:32 AMUpdatedApr 10, 2024 | 2:48 PM

Cybercrime woman lawyer

A woman lawyer in Bengaluru fell prey to cyber criminals and during “video arrest” for two days she not only lost money to the tune of ₹14.57 lakh but was forced to pose nude on camera for them, police sources said on Tuesday, 9 April.

According to police, the incident occurred between 3 and 5 April.

A complaint in this regard was registered at the Bengaluru East division cybercrime police station.

Also Read: Bengaluru cops clamp down on cybercrime using biometrics from land records, Aadhaar-enabled payments

The incident

The 29-year-old victim from the city received a call from a person claiming to be from the customer care of Fedex, an international courier giant, who told her the parcel had been returned and she had to speak to the customer care executive.

The executive told her the parcel contained five passports, three credit cards, and 140 synthetic narcotics (MDMA) sent from Mumbai to Thailand in her name.

She was told since the parcel contained narcotics, it was on hold and if it had not been placed by her then she should reach out to the cybercrime team in Mumbai to register a complaint of ID theft.

“After I confirmed that yes, I wanted to make an identity theft complaint, they transferred my call to cybercrime team in Mumbai. The cybercrime team asked me to download Skype and enter an email id in order to chat with them,” she said in her complaint.

They then asked her about the “illegal parcel” and her Aadhaar card details.

The “cybercrime team” then said they would speak to higher authorities.

“I was then informed that my Aadhaar card was on high alert for human trafficking and drugs. After this, the Skype call was transferred to an alleged senior CBI officer named Abhishek Chauhan where I was asked to switch on the camera and start a conversation,” the complainant said.

The ‘CBI officer’ informed her that there is a case of human trafficking, money laundering and identity theft, she said.

“They kept grilling me about my bank account details such as my existing balance, my annual CTC, my monthly income and my investments. I gave them all the needed information,” the victim told police.

Also read: Bengaluru to have centre for excellence soon to battle cybercrime

‘Highly sensitive case’

She was forced to take an oath not to disclose any details with anyone until the investigation was completed as it was a ‘highly sensitive case.’

The woman was prevented from speaking to her parents and police and told to cooperate with them because “there were police and politicians involved in this case.”

She was asked to remain online with the camera on and share her screen so that they could check whether she called or texted anyone.

“For an entire day, I was watched even during the night. I was asked to keep the camera on and sleep,” she said in her complaint.

On 4 April, she was asked to transfer ₹10,78,993 from her bank account to the account holder named Nithin Joseph, which she diligently did.

Further, they made two separate transactions of ₹2.04 lakh and ₹1.74 lakh on Amazon on 5 April.

On the pretext of conducting ‘narcotic tests’, she was forced to strip and pose on camera, the woman said in the complaint.

She alleged she was threatened to continue doing it or else she and her family would be arrested in a drug case.

“The alleged officer later blackmailed me that if I don’t give him ₹10 lakh by 3 pm on 5 April, he will sell her video to multiple people including the dark web,” she said in her complaint.

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