The Telegraph
Saturday , January 5 , 2013
Since 1st March, 1999
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Dupe trap set for Crorepati aspirants

- People made to deposit thousands in fake accounts as ‘processing fee’ for TV show

The road to become crorepati is not easy, and several persons from the land of Sushil Kumar have learnt it the hard way.

Sushil, the first contestant to bag the Rs 5-crore jackpot in the popular TV show, Kaun Banega Crorepati, was surprised to know that his name had been used to call up innocent people to deposit certain amount in a specific account.

Sushil immediately contacted Geetanjali Baheti, the public relations head of Sony TV, which airs the reality show, and Kaun Banega Crorepati director Siddhartha Basu over the matter. “They were shocked to learn that and Basu promised to alert viewers of such fraud in the show’s next episodes.”

Raj Kumar of West Champaran, a student at a Lucknow engineering college, and one Praveen Kumar Gupta belonging to Sonbarsa village of Buxar have already come across such fraudsters.

Om Prakash Prasad, a Motihari-based uncle of Raj, said: “Posing himself as Sushil, someone called Raj on his cellphone and demanded a processing fee of Rs 6,500 to take part in the show.”

Gupta had worse experience. The innocent villager was cheated of Rs 14,000 in three instalments after getting phone calls from six different numbers. The callers used the name of Sushil and one Brajesh Kumar, the employee of a private bank, which has a corporate tie-up with Kaun Banega Crorepati. Gupta, who had earlier deposited the amount of Rs 6,500 in at least two accounts of the bank’s Rayagada (Odisha) and Mandsaur (near Indore in Madhya Pradesh), was asked further to deposit Rs 25,000 in account number 31498270355. He was even abused over the phone when Gupta failed to deposit the amount within the scheduled time.

Expressing surprise over such incidents, Rajeev Ranjan Das, the bank’s Motihari branch head, told The Telegraph: “We have come up with an advertisement displaying Kaun Banega Crorepati host Amitabh Bachchan in the banner. The fraudsters might have got encouragement from such ads.”

Police said they were ready to take a step if someone lodged a written FIR regarding the fraud phone calls.

“The police can take an action in the matter only when we get specific complaints related to anyone being cheated. It seems the Kaun Banega Crorepati winner’s name is being misused for ulterior motive,” said East Champaran superintendent of police Ganesh Kumar.