Facebook ‘friends’ loot teacher of Rs 4.5 lakh: Jharkhand


A schoolteacher of this steel town in Jharkhand was robbed of Rs 4.5 lakh by a Facebook friend, a suspected US national who has befriended her through the social media platform.
The complainant, Mahrukh Ram Patel, told police on Wednesday night that an American man, Michael Morgan, and an associate asked her to deposit Rs 4.5 lakh to get development funds and equipment such as laptops and washing machines for her school.
His aide, Sangita Chowdhary, who posed as an official in the Delhi customs office, called the teacher on March 21 and asked her to deposit Rs 50,000 to complete the formalities for some gifts and Rs 64 lakh from Morgan. She also asked for Rs 98,000 for an anti-terrorist clearance certificate.
Patel did what she was asked without checking the credentials of the people offering such huge donations, police said.
Chowdhary asked her again on March 23 to deposit Rs 22 lakh into an account — UTR No-CBINR 5201604710002586 — but since the amount was too big, the teacher checked with Morgan. He apparently told her that Rs 3 lakh would do and she obliged.
Since then, there has been no word from them. The teacher then lodged an FIR with Olidih police station against the duo who was almost regularly in contact with her from February 29 to April 8.
Cyber robberies are not uncommon in Jharkhand as people in Jamshedpur alone have lost more than Rs 20 crore since 2013 to such criminals.
In fact, records in the state’s lone cyber police station in Ranchi reveal such crimes have increased considerably from 172 cases in 2014 to 221 in 2015 across Jharkhand.
Jharkhand director general of police DK Pandey said on Thursday that Jamshedpur required a dedicated cyber police station to ease the load on the Ranchi cell.
“The lone cyber PS in Ranchi is looking after the entire state. If the Jamshedpur deputy commissioner and SSP present a proposal approved by the Kolhan commissioner and deputy inspector general, we will seriously consider it,” he said.
Cyber crime investigation is a specialised domain as it involves catching criminals hiding inside a vast online web.
“We’ve detected many cases such as the arrest of a Nigerian from Mumbai in October last year. At present all such cases are being handled by our technical cell. But it is burdened with other cases needing assistance such as tracking mobile phones,” Jamshedpur SSP Anoop T Matthew said.
Jamshedpur police arrested 33-year-old Onumajaru Chukwudi alias James Bennett, a resident of Nigeria’s Kano, in Mumbai for cheating Manoj Kumar, a businessman from Adityapur of Seraikela-Kharsawan district, of Rs 12 lakh.

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