Fake PMO site tops Google searches

New Delhi:

Police have arrested a 43-year-old man who had set up a fake PMO website and duped more than 200 people of crores of rupees on the pretext of giving them government loans for business ventures.
Police said the accused, Sudipto Chatterjee from Howrah in West Bengal, set up a website for `Pradhan Mantri Adarsh Yojna’ which purported to be a government scheme offering loans to “hardworking“ citizens wanting to set out on their own. A 43-year-old man from Howrah, West Bengal has been arrested for duping scores of people using a fake PMO website. Sudipto Chatterjee had hired a team of 17 tele-callers to contact applicants and give them `registration numbers’, before asking them for `security deposits’ or `processing fees’, which Chatterjee would pocket.

The crime branch probed the case on complaints from the Prime Minister’s Office, which some of the victim’s had approached for clarifications regarding the status of their `loan applications’.

Ravindra Yadav, joint commissioner of police (crime) said on Sunday that a special team led by addl CP Ashok Chand and ACP K P S Malhotra had arrested Chatterjee from Howrah after carrying out extensive technical analysis. The IP address and the host details of the fake website, http:www.pmay-gov .in, was obtained which revealed that the server was based in USA.

“It became clear that it was a proxy server being used.Further probe revealed that the website was being hosted from West Bengal,“ said addl CP Chand.

A team under DCP Bhish am Singh tracked the location and laid traps in Howrah before arresting Chatterjee.

The police said 20 mobile phones, cheques of 43 accounts, dongles, hard disks and various government rubber stamps, along with other incriminating material, were seized during the raid.

Cops said Chatterjee had earlier worked in e-commerce and decided to use his experi ence in creating fake websites to cheat individuals.

He created the fake website on a US-based server to avoid being detected. The URL had the reflection of a government website and got listed on priority in Google searches.

“Whenever, an online surfer would search for projects supported by the Indian government, this website would figure in the top hits. The form and content of the website would convince visitors that it was a genuine scheme to help the youth and to promote entrepreneurship in India,“ Yadav said. Prospective victims would fill in their details online and apply for the loan.

Chatterjee had employed 17 tele-callers who would contact the clients and to give them a registration number for their application.

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