A 28-year-old computer engineer involved in cheating politicians to fulfill expensive hobbies of his girlfriend was arrested from Andhra Pradesh for allegedly committing a cyber fraud, posing as Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot.
The accused made a WhatsApp call April 24 to Alwar's Tijara MLA Sandeep Yadav through a virtual number.
With a profile picture of Gehlot's family on the WhatsApp account, he had a brief chat with the MLA, posing as the CM and asked him to send Rs 30,000 through Google pay.
On suspicion, the Congress MLA contacted the chief minister's office in Jaipur and enquired about the number. When it became clear that it was a cheating attempt, the MLA informed Bhiwadi (Alwar) Police on April 26.
The Bhiwadi police traced the number, given by the accused for transferring the money, to Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh, Bhiwadi Superintendent of Police Shantanu Kumar Singh said on Saturday.
Following this, a team led by Inspector Jitendra Singh airdashed to Visakhapatnam to trace the accused, he added.
The police reached an address in RH Colony, Pedagantyada in Visakhapatnam on the basis of the mobile number but no one was residing there, the SP said.
The team then roamed around in a three-square-km area and enquiring about the number and gathering information about the accused after talking to several local people, he added.
During enquiries, the Bhiwadi police team got a new number which was being operated by a woman Sandhya Singh and reached her address.
Her husband K Siva told police that his friend Sagar alias Pandiri Vishnu Murthy had sought his Google Pay number on April 24 following which Sagar's location was traced and he was nabbed. He was taken to the Gajuwaka police station in Visakhapatnam for interrogation. He confessed to have contacted the MLA by impersonating as the Rajasthan CM, he said.
The SP said the accused has a criminal record and had planned to target several leaders including chief ministers.
He had also duped Rs 1.80 crore from two ministers and three MLAs of Andhra Pradesh in the name of Andhra Pradesh CM Jagan Mohan Reddy in 2019. It had taken five months for the Andhra Pradesh Police to arrest him, he said.
SP Singh said Pandiri, who has four cases lodged against him in Andhra Pradesh, is a B Tech degree holder in computer science and an expert in hacking computers and mobile phones.
He uses a virtual private network (VPN) server of other countries so that his actual IP address remains untraceable, the SP said, adding he gets the contact lists after hacking mobile phones and then commits crime by contacting people through virtual numbers.
He uses the money he gets through cheating to fulfill expensive hobbies of his girlfriend. In the past, he bought a luxury flat for his girlfriend for Rs 80 lakh in a posh colony of Visakhapatnam, SP Singh added.