By Bizodisha Bureau, Bhubaneswar, November 16, 2022: The Odisha Police on Wednesday claimed to have busted an inter-state cybercrime gang allegedly involved in duping people, and arrested three persons, including two from Rajasthan, in this connection.

The gang operated from the western state and opened nearly 2,000 ‘mule’ accounts in different parts of the country, mainly in Odisha, West Bengal, Bihar and Assam, in a bid to cheat people, the Odisha Police Economic Offence Wing DIG JN Pankaj said.

‘Money mule’ is a term used to describe innocent victims who are duped by fraudsters into laundering stolen/illegal money via their bank accounts.

Two accused persons, Mahmud Khan and Munfed Khan, who were apprehended from Rajasthan with the help of the police there, have been brought to Odisha on a five-day remand, the official said on Tuesday.

The economic offence wing also arrested a local man, Anil Khiller, from the Baisinga area in Odisha’s Mayurbhanj district, who used to supply SIM cards to the gang in Rajasthan, he said.

The local has procured and sent at least 1,200 SIM cards to these fraudsters, the EOW official said.

Earlier, the EOW had registered a case on the allegation of opening ‘mule’ accounts with the Indian Post Payment Bank (IPPB) in the name of different innocent persons especially in the backward areas of Nabarangpur district of Odisha by giving the impression that the account holders would get monetary benefits under different government schemes through these accounts.

But these accounts were “used for illegal money transactions in various cybercrime without the knowledge of the actual account holders”, the EOW said in a statement on Tuesday.

Investigation revealed that some local youths of Nabarangpur with the fraudsters of Rajasthan have created hundreds of ‘mule’ accounts with the Indian Post Payment Bank (IPPB) by using Aadhaar, PAN, photographs of innocent villagers, and SIM numbers provided by the fraudsters operating from Rajasthan were given against such accounts, and as a result, any transaction carried out through these accounts was being intimated to the fraudsters, the statement said.

“During the investigation, five local accused were earlier arrested in the case. They disclosed that they were opening the mule accounts in the locality for the defrauders in Rajasthan, who were paying them Rs 2,000 per account,” the EOW said.

Initial investigation revealed that Mahmud Khan received at least Rs 62 lakh remitted through the mule accounts fraudulently opened with IPPB, Nabarangpur, the DIG said.

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