Youth cheats businessman by posing as Bollywood actor-director Divya Khosla Kumar, held

Apr 06, 2018, 17:04 IST | Suraj Ojha

The police have identified the accused as Prajwal Gopalkrishan, who, they said, had made a fan page of the actor on Facebook last year

Representation pic
Representation pic

The Mumbai Crime Branch arrested a 25-year-old Bengaluru-based engineer on Wednesday for allegedly cheating a Vadodara businessman of nearly Rs 40 lakh by posing as Bollywood actor-director Divya Khosla Kumar.

Struck by a star
The police have identified the accused as Prajwal Gopalkrishan, who, they said, had made a fan page of the actor on Facebook last year. On May 18, Dinesh Barot, 33, pinged him on chat, and Gopalkrishan spoke to him posing as Kumar. Barot believed that the actor was chatting with him as he had met her during an event in Mumbai a few months prior to that, said the police.

An officer said, "One day, Barot said he wanted to invest some money in Bollywood. Gopalkrishan seized his chance and he told him that he (posing as Kumar) would be launching a project soon and he (Barot) could invest in that." Barot told Gopalkrishan that he can invest Rs 40.1 lakh, after which the latter asked him to come to Mumbai. Chatting as Kumar, Gopalkrishan told Barot to hand over the money to "my secretary Prajwal" in Oshiwara.

The trace
After getting the money, Gopalkrishan started ignoring him, and 10 days later, Barot realised he had been cheated. Finally, mid-March, he lodged a complaint at Oshiwara police station. Crime branch officers also started working on the case, and on finding Gopalkrishan's location, alerted the Oshiwara police, who then sent a team to Bengaluru on Wednesday. Officers said Barot had clicked a photo of Gopalkrishan on his mobile phone while handing him the money, and that helped them to identify the accused, who is in police custody till April 10.

The motive
Gopalkrishan wanted to earn money through social media (advertising), and hi friend advised him to make fan pages of celebrities, as those would garner followers and, subsequently, bring in ads. The accused had created more than 25 such fan pages on Facebook.

An officer said, "His mother is a cancer patient, and he needed the money for her treatment. So, when Barot landed on his page, he saw his opportunity. Gopalkrishan's mother is undergoing treatment at Manipal in Bengaluru. He has already spent nearly Rs 5 lakh of the amount he got from Barot on her."

Rs 40.1 lakh
Amount the accused duped the businessman of

Rs 5 lakh
Amount accused has spent on his mother's treatment

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