Fake PMO website busted, mastermind arrested

New Delhi: Delhi Police has busted a fake website of the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) under the name "Pradhan Mantri Adarsh Yojna" and arrested the mastermind for cheating several people on the pretext of providing them government loans, officials said Sunday.

In a joint operation by Delhi and West Bengal Police, Sudipta Chatterjee, the 43-year-old mastermind of the racket, was arrested Saturday from Howrah, where the network had its base. "The fake website was created with the aim of cheating people of their money on the pretext of providing them loans for various projects and schemes," said Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime Branch) Ravindra Yadav.

Twenty mobile phones, hard disks, internet dongles, cheques related to 43 bank accounts, fake project reports, some incriminating documents along with 16 rubber stamps of government offices were recovered from his possession. Details of the server were obtained on the basis of the fake URL -- www.pmay-gov.in.

Chatterjee was produced in a court in Bengal and was brought on transit remand to Delhi. According to the police official, Chatterjee created the fake website, projected it as a government one and hosted it on a server based in the US. "To confuse the users, the URL had the reflection of a government website and it was listed on priority with Google.

Whenever, any online surfer would search this website would figure in the top hits," the official said. There were sufficient reasons to believe it was a government website, he said. Chatterjee had employed 17 tele-callers to contact prospective clients and give them the registration number of their application form.

The tele-callers were specially trained by him and scripts were provided to them which were prepared with great care and caution, so that the prospective client had no idea of being cheated. There were a few clauses about the banking transactions, in which the client would be persuaded that he has to maintain a specified amount in his account as security.

The mastermind would also obtain signed cheques, ATM cards, PIN number of the accounts and would direct the client that he should not avail any telebanking or net banking facility on that account. Once these steps were completed, he would withdraw the security amount from the client's account.

Chatterjee also disclosed that his associate was a web designer who helped him create other domains by the name of bharat-sarkar.in, govindia.in, CGTMSE-govt.in, CGTMSE-gov.in. He also created similar e-mails by the name of goi@developmentofindia.in and project@developmentofindia.in.

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