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All of 20, Ajay Mandal of Jamtara led dupe gang of 70 members

Police have learnt that the racket was run in multiple layers so that the kingpin became difficult to locate

Monalisa Chaudhuri | Published 01.04.22, 07:37 AM
Representational image

Representational image


A Class X dropout in a remote village in Jharkhand’s Jamtara district had allegedly been running a racket involving 60-70 youths who would cheat people living hundreds of kilometres away.

Son of a meat seller, Ajay Mandal, 20, who spent his childhood in a small hut at Karmatar village in Jamtara district, recently built a two-storey home on a two-bigha plot in the village, a police officer said.


The house, the officer said, has an opulent use of marble, a prayer room and multiple lofts, in one of which Ajay was found hiding when a police team from Kolkata raided the place early on Wednesday.

Ajay’s name had cropped up during an investigation of a complaint by an elderly resident of Parnasree in Behala, who had lost Rs 20.54 lakh after a tele-caller convinced him to click on a link, following which his phone was compromised and the fraudsters got access to his bank accounts.

Ajay allegedly managed the “business” with his elder brother Ashok, who was not at home when the cops turned up.

The police said they had found a spot around 2km from his home, where Ajay used to live earlier and where the racket appears to have started.

“We found a khatiya with several mobile chargers kept on it. On asking, we learned that Ajay’s men often gathered there to recharge their mobile phones and to call up people in an attempt to dupe them,” said an investigator.

The police have learnt that the racket was run in multiple layers so that the kingpin became difficult to locate.

A senior officer said one of the teams hired by Ajay used to collect pre-activated SIM cards issued against fake documents.

Officers of Parnasree police station had arrested six persons from Garfa off Jadavpur in south Kolkata and Bardhaman, North 24-Parganas and Howrah districts, who were allegedly found in possession of pre-activated SIM cards.

Two of them allegedly had links with a telecom service provider. The police said they issued pre-activated SIM cards based on forged Aadhaar cards. The SIM cards were later sold to people in Nadia, Bardhaman and North 24-Parganas who allegedly are members of Ajay’s gang.

“One of the persons, who is from Halisahar in North 24-Parganas, used these SIM cards to generate one-time passwords that were illegally sold in a Telegram group for Rs 20 each. Ajay would get the OTPs from this platform and use them to open e-wallets, which were later used to transfer the money swindled out of victims,” said an officer.

“Once the e-wallets were created, the SIM cards were sent to Jamtara through a conduit in Deoghar. None of the men arrested seems to have known Ajay by his name or location.”

A second team comprised 30 to 40 youths from Jamtara who would call up people across Bengal and try to convince them to share their banking details or click on links sent to their phones. One such caller had duped the Parnasree resident of Rs 20.54 lakh.

A third team, the police said, was tasked with opening bank accounts. Officers probing the case said they had come across bank accounts in Bengal, Odisha and Chennai, where the stolen money was transferred.

The police recently arrested in Cuttack in Odisha two alleged beneficiaries of such a bank account. “Based on the statements of the two, another two men were arrested in Nawada in Bihar. The two held in Cuttack had handed the ATM cards of the accounts to the two rounded up from Nawada,” the officer said.

“We could reach Ajay by pursuing the leads the two men arrested in Nawada provided during interrogation. We are looking for Ashok.”

Student duped

Lansdowne: Police on Wednesday tracked down an app cab driver who allegedly cheated a college student while making payment.

The student, who came to Kolkata from Chennai, alleged that the driver snatched his phone and typed 3,500 instead of 300 on his phone while making an online payment for the cab journey earlier this week.

Officers of Rabindra Sarobar police station also recovered the extra money from the accused driver.

Last updated on 01.04.22, 09:22 AM

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