11 arrested in Delhi for cheating 5 lakh people through investment app

In the last two months, the accused allegedly managed to cheat people of Rs 150 crore.

The Delhi Police Cyber Cell has arrested 11 men for allegedly cheating more than 5 lakh people with the help of an investment app named Power Bank. In the last two months, the accused allegedly managed to cheat people of Rs 150 crore. The app is listed on Google Play Store and offers lucrative and quick returns on investments.

Anyesh Roy, DCP (Special Cell-Cyber), said the owners and creators of the app are based in China and approached the accused two months ago to help them with bank accounts and shell companies in India.

“We received hundreds of complaints on social media about two apps — Power Bank and EZ Plan. Some complainants claimed they lost lakhs of rupees. The Power Bank app was trending on the app store with thousands of downloads,” said DCP Roy.

Information on the app’s page showed it is a Bangalore-based startup but the police later found its server is based in China. There was no information about its owners or creators.

The app initially offered an instant return of 5-10% on the invested amount which “attracted” several users who invested in the app. However, police said, the app later blocked the users’ accounts.

The investigating team of the Cyber Cell made an account on the app to trace the owner.

“Our officer posed as a customer and invested a token amount in the app. We then traced the money trail. It was found the money was being transferred through 25 shell companies and several bank accounts. Our team analysed the mobile numbers linked to the bank accounts and found that one of the accused is in West Bengal,” said DCP Roy.

Teams were sent to Uluberia in Bengal to find a man named Sheikh Robin. Meanwhile, teams in Delhi were sent to the NCR to identify and arrest the other accused.

On June 2, Robin was arrested. Nine others were arrested from the Delhi-NCR region around the same time. Two of the accused, Avik Kedia and Ronak Bansal, are chartered accountants and were found to have created more than 110 shell companies for “Chinese fraudsters”. They created these companies for money transfer and later sold each company to Chinese nationals for Rs 2-3 lakh each.

During the interrogation, Robin told the police that Chinese nationals contacted him on Telegram and asked him to provide them with a bank account. He later joined the fraudsters and was overlooking all fund transfers on the app. At the time of the arrest, he was operating around 29 bank accounts.

Police said the owners of the app randomly approached people on Telegram, Dingtalk and WeChat. They would ask people to provide them with a bank account and shell companies to hide the money trail. Later, the app’s link was forwarded through bulk messages and on WhatsApp to several people. The victims were then offered schemes on the app with easy returns.

DCP Roy said their team has received the names of the owners and are trying to get their location.

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