Khul ja SIM-SIM: How ex-MLA’s nephew conned people in Punjab's Mansa
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The arrest of Praveen Kumar, the nephew of an ex-MLA by Mansa police in Chandigarh, has revealed an interesting modus operandi to con people. Kumar, who allegedly changed his name to Rahul Maan in Mansa, with three of his accomplices set up a small-scale business in Mansa and fled after collecting lakhs from the residents.
"The gang of four used to buy SIM cards of a particular service provider at a rate of Rs 10 per card. They had set up a shop by the name of Sai Enterprises early this year. Then they floated a fake scheme to earn money," a Mansa police officer told Chandigarh Newsline.
The gang of four used to allegedly sell a SIM card which they had bought for Rs 10 at a price of Rs 10,500. Along with the SIM, they would give the buyer a list of contacts to whom the buyer would then have to forward SMSes. For sending one SMS, the buyer would be paid Rs 3. Hence, 2,000 SMSes a month would help the buyer earn a sum of Rs 6,000.
The gang had promised the buyers a salary of Rs 6,000 a month. Many people in Mansa bought the cards. "Some of the people bought 10-15 cards which were given to the housewives with the list of contacts provided by the con-men to forward the messages. To date, we have received 12 complaints against Kumar and his accomplices," said the police officer.
However, to give an incentive to the buyer, the four would sell the SIM card with "actual" cost of Rs 10,500 at Rs 4, 500. They would claim that the remaining Rs 6,000 were the first-month salary for the card holder.
The gang claimed that the paperwork for one SIM card took three months, so after three months they would start getting a regular salary. Adopting this modus operandi, the gang collected Rs 20 lakh from Mansa residents in three months and fled. After complaints were made by the Mansa residents, the police conducted raids. One of the gang members, Davinder, was caught and 60 tolas of gold was recovered from him.