With a decoy having infiltrated the network, police could identify the linked payment gateways, UPI and transaction IDs, and bank accounts used by the fraudsters. The cops also got the connected mobile numbers — a majority of them being operated from China — and managed to unearth 25 shell firms so far in whose accounts the money was getting transferred.
“These companies were located in different parts of India and the money was being moved from one account to another to hide the trail. This pointed to the involvement of professional accountants,” police commissioner S N Shrivastava said.
Police picked up the first and key suspect, Sheikh Robin, from Uluberia in West Bengal. Two chartered accountants, Ronak Bansal and Avik Kedia, were held from Gurgaon and Delhi’s Katwaria Sarai. Five others, Umakant Akash Joys, Ved Chandra, Hari Om, Arvind and Abhishek Mansaramani, all residents of Delhi who acted as directors in the shell companies, were also arrested. Two others, Sashi Bansal and Mithlesh Sharma, were caught for providing bogus companies and bank accounts. A Tibetan woman was also held from IGI Airport in coordination with Bangalore Police.
Kedia is learnt to have created around 110 shell firms for the syndicate. His social media profiles also revealed details of his foreign travel. Thirty active mobile phones were seized from Robin, who was contacted allegedly by Chinese fraudsters through Telegram. He had initially opened a bank account for them, but later started acting as an operative whose primary task was to manage the fund transfers. At the time of his arrest, Robin had the custody of 29 bank accounts.
Bansal and Kedia said they would create shell companies in the name of their family members, friends and employees and then sell them to Chinese nationals for Rs 2-3 lakh each, DCP (cyber) Anyesh Roy said. They were in touch with the Chinese through Telegram, Dingtalk, WeChat, etc, he added.
The gang used sophisticated software and financial tools for automated fund transfer. The Chinese syndicate, police said, created an elaborate network of operatives across the country to launder the money. Their footprints have been confirmed in West Bengal, NCR, Bengaluru, Odisha, Assam and Surat, the cops said.