Cyber Fraud: Indian Authorities Nab Mastermind Behind ₹5,000 Crore Scam

Published on: May 07, 2024 12:02 IST

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) recently apprehended the mastermind of a massive cyber fraud, Punith Kumar, who had been evading authorities for quite some time. Kumar, caught last month by the ED at Delhi’s IGI Airport, is accused of orchestrating an elaborate scheme involving online gaming and cyber scams, through which he amassed an astonishing ₹5,000 crore.

According to ED sources, Kumar had already siphoned off ₹4,978 crore to Dubai and other countries through alternative channels. He was arrested upon returning from Nepal on April 3. Subsequent investigations led to the seizure of approximately 19.5 kilograms of gold worth ₹14 crore from a bank locker in Ballabhgarh, Haryana, registered under Kumar’s mother’s name.

Further inquiries revealed Kumar’s involvement in various cyber crimes, along with his accomplices, including Ashish Kakkar, who was apprehended on March 2. The ED disclosed that Kumar and his associates earned illicit profits by importing high-value goods from countries like Dubai, Hong Kong, and China, including large quantities of oil and solar panels, which were later exported through circular trading to entities like SEZs.

Additionally, the ED highlighted that between 2020 and 2024, illicit gains amounting to ₹4,978 crore were earned through cyber crimes and online gaming in India, with Kumar being a key player in the fraudulent activities nationwide. Numerous FIRs have been lodged against him in Delhi, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, and Chandigarh. Kumar utilized servers based in the UAE to perpetrate this scam, which has now been exposed by Indian authorities.

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