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Maharashtra: Chartered accountant from Pune arrested for cheating people through 'task' fraud

Police in Navi Mumbai has arrested a 35-year-old chartered accountant from Pune for allegedly cheating people of lakhs through "task" fraud, news agency PTI reported quoting an official.

The police apprehended Akash Umesh Pandey, a chartered accountant with a private firm, from Lohegaon in Pune on November 4 in a case registered against him under section 420 (cheating) and other relevant provisions of the Indian Penal Code and Information Technology Act, senior inspector Gajanan Kadam of the cyber police station said.

The police had received a complaint from a Navi Mumbai resident who allegedly lost Rs 17 lakh after performing various tasks online as instructed by the accused between August 9 and 14, he said.

The police traced the bank account in which the money was deposited and the phone number connected to the transactions. The police froze the bank accounts and zeroed in on the accused in Pune, the official said.

Pandey, along with his associates in Delhi, was involved in four similar offences in Maharashtra and had 21 cyber cases in other states, he said.

The cyber police have frozen Rs 5.9 lakh deposited in different bank accounts operated by the arrested accused, the official said.

In a separate incident, a former engineer of a ship management company here allegedly extorted Rs 1.97 crore from the managing director of the firm by threatening to send a video of one of his vessels discharging untreated sewage in the territory of the United States to the country's Coast Guard, police said on Tuesday.

Based on a complaint lodged by the firm's managing director, a first information report (FIR) under section 384 (extortion) and other relevant provisions of the Indian Penal Code has been registered against the alleged accused, an official said.

The ship management company has an office at Churchgate in south Mumbai and offices in Delhi and Singapore, he said.

The complainant has alleged that he received a call from an unidentified number in June 2022, in which the caller had threatened to send a video to the US Coast Guard of a vessel discharging untreated sewage in the sea while heading towards the US from Mexico, the official said.

The caller, who identified himself as a resident of Jharkhand, claimed that the ship had violated international laws by releasing untreated sewage and demanded $2.5 lakh (Rs 1.97 crore) from the complainant to keep the video under wraps, he said.

It was later established that the caller had worked as an engineer with the firm, the official said.

The complainant, out of fear, transferred the money from the bank account of the company's Singapore office to the accused's account in Jharkhand, he said.

A few days later, he again received a call from the accused, who demanded $3 lakh this time. Following this, the managing director approached the police with a complaint, the official said.

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