Bargarh: A court in Odisha has remanded four Nigerian men and a Ugandan woman arrested four days ago in a lottery fraud case to 15 days judicial custody, police said Tuesday.
The four Nigerians who identified themselves as Emejulu Obiora Anthony, 31, Okonkwo Nnamdijery, 27, John Eboigbe, 34, Maxwell, 37 and the Ugandian Kisakye Phanta Bellah, 24, were arrested by a team of state police with the help of local police in Haryana`s Gurgaon town Friday.
According to the police, the group was sending SMSs and emails to different people informing them that they had won a jackpot and needed to deposit a specific amount of money to get the reward.
The state police swung into action after Shyam Sunder Sahu, a
roadside food vendor at the district headquarters town of Bargarh, about 380 km from state capital Bhubaneswar, lodged a police complaint saying that he received such an SMS om June 2.
Sahu said the SMS informed that he had won a jackpot of BBC Lottery Corporation worth Rs.1.6 crore and needed to email his resume at firstname.lastname@example.org. As soon as Sahu replied, the accused asked him deposit Rs.21,500 as the first installment towards customs duty in a particular bank account.
Sahu deposited as much as Rs.5.23 lakh in different accounts at different points of time with a hope that the prize money would be given to him. When nothing came through, he lodged the complaint June 30, Bargarh deputy superintendent of police Amarendra Rana told IANS.
Police raided the hideouts of the accused persons with the help of Delhi and Haryana police and managed to nab them, he added. Police have also recovered large number of mobile phones, some walkie-talkies, laptops, passports and Rs.1.40 lakh in cash from their possession, he said.
During investigations, police discovered thousands of telephone numbers in their laptops. It was also found that they had duped a family in Kerala of Rs.5 lakh in a similar way. Although they tried to cheat some other persons in Odisha`s Keojhar, Cuttack and Dhenkanal district, they were not able to extract any money from them, he said.
The accused persons were produced before the court of sub divisional judicial magistrate at Bargarh Monday. The judge S.K. Dey remanded them to 15 days interior judicial custody, he added. Further investigation is on to find out if they have cheated more persons in the state, he said.