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‘Operation Anti-Virus’ in Rajasthan: Police launches multiple raids in Mewat, arrests cyber criminals looting money through fake investment schemes and sextortion

According to the exclusive report by India TV, thousands of SIM cards, mobile phones, swipe machines used for fund transfers, and cash counting machines have also been seized from the fraudsters.

On Tuesday, June 18th, the Rajasthan Police’s Cyber Branch launched another raid under its ‘Operation Anti-Virus’ in the Mewat region arresting several young individuals involved in looting people monetarily using the internet and fake calls. The Police raided several premises in the Mewat region and uncovered an international cyber racket. The authorities further recovered several fake mobile phones, computers, and other electronic devices from the accused persons.

According to the exclusive report by India TV, thousands of SIM cards, mobile phones, swipe machines used for fund transfers, and cash counting machines have also been seized from the fraudsters. The Police arrested several individuals one of whom was identified as Abid. The accused posed as a military man ‘Anil Kumar’ and made fake calls to loot people for money.

Image- India TV

How is cybercrime executed in Mewat?

As per the police Mewat region in Rajasthan has become a hotbed for cyber crimes. More than 500 cases are reported daily from the region and more than 150 FIRs have been filed for cybercrime in 2024 alone. These accused persons deceive people through investment allurements, fake digital arrests, threats of disconnecting utilities, and sextortion. They call people, introduce some investment schemes, and ask people to make initial monetary deposits for future benefits. However, later these people are lured and forced to make further deposits. On refusal, they are threatened with ‘digital arrests’, scaring people to follow them.

In several cases filed of sextortions, a similar pattern has been observed by the police. As per the authorities, the accused persons make video calls to innocent people from unknown numbers and then play some sex videos. The call is deceptively recorded in which the targeted individuals are recorded watching pornography or sexual content, giving it an impression of involvement. The victims are then threatened and are asked to deposit money if they have to avoid ‘police action’ or ’embarrassment’. The victims often get intimidated to deposit hefty amounts that are transferred and routed to many bank accounts before the final withdrawal.

The police say that these accused persons employ and train youngsters on salary and operate a huge nexus of call centers to lure and loot innocents monetarily. The ’employees’ are expected only to make fake calls from fake mobile phones and initiate conversations leading to massive loot by the experienced fraudsters. As per the reports, several villages in the Mewat region are engaged in such fraud.

Arrests made by Bharatpur IG in Dig (India TV)

Rs 50 lakhs looted by Abid who posed as ‘Anil Kumar’ from military

In the given case, the Dig Police in Mewat, Rajasthan had obtained a lead that innocent people were being called from one particular number that is extorting money from them. Bharatpur IG Rahul Prakash further stated that the police received several such complaints against that one particular phone number, after which its location was traced. The phone was supposed to be in Ladela village of Mewat as per the location details. The police then raided the premises with arms and weapons given the severity of the situation and arrested the accused persons.

SHO Manish Sharma led the operation and arrested one individual identified as Abid who had posed as a military man named ‘Anil Kumar’ on social media to threaten and loot innocent people on social media. The police also happened to recover a swipe machine through which the money had been withdrawn. On asking, Abid told the Police that he used to purchase second-hand assets from people through OLX, initiate conversations there, and later threaten them for money. He also confessed that he had uploaded a fake picture of a military man from Google. To date, as per the India TV report, Abid has fraudulently obtained Rs 50 lakhs from people using fake SIM cards, calls, and bank accounts.

Fake profile used by Abid as ‘Anil Kumar’ (India TV)

150 FIRs filed, 400 arrested so far under ‘Operation Anti-Virus’

It is believed that 18% of the total cyber crime cases happening in India are reported from the Mewat region. Almost every house residing in this region is involved in looting and frauds ‘professionally’. A huge nexus operates here in which some are responsible for arranging fake SIM cards, some for making calls, and others for actually executing the loot. The fake SIM cards are supposedly arranged from the states of West Bengal, Bihar, and Odisha.

“Cybercrime in Mewat is growing so organized that some people have established call centers dedicated to cyber fraud, making billions of rupees. The most common cybercrime in Mewat is sextortion. Mewat’s cyber gangs utilize bogus profile photographs of ladies to lure people in and then blackmail them for money,” Bharatpur Range IG Rahul Prakash was quoted as saying. 

Over 150 FIRs have been registered for cybercrime in the Mewat region exclusively. Over 400 fraudsters have been arrested so far. Police to date have seized approximately 1,000 mobile phones, 300 ATM cards, 1,500 SIM cards, 10 micro ATMs, 6 swipe machines, 31 four-wheelers, 27 two-wheelers, 8 laptops, one tablet, and six desktops.

About ‘Operation Anti-Virus’ in Mewat

As per the India TV report, during the Lok Sabha election campaign, Rajasthan Chief Minister Bhajan Lal Sharma visited several states, including Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Odisha, and Maharashtra. He heard the same complaint everywhere he went which said that cyber criminals from Mewat were defrauding individuals not only in India but also in other nations around the world.

Senior executives and even political leaders from many states claimed to be victims of cyber fraud, and investigations repeatedly pointed back to Mewat. They asked Chief Minister to take steps to combat cybercrime in the region. Sharma took action and directed the police to initiate an anti-cybercrime campaign, which resulted in the present crackdown on the fraudsters’ network in Mewat.

In just one year, cybercriminals have swindled more than Rs 7,000 crores. The police received 7,50,000 cybercrime complaints in 2024, compared to more than 1.5 million in the previous year. According to Rahul Prakash, bulldozers have been used on the dwellings of some of the accused as part of Operation Anti-Virus. The police’s rigorous actions are producing results.

A similar raid was reported in April 2024

In a major crackdown against cybercrime, the Nuh police in April this year arrested 42 cyber criminals from various parts of Nuh, Mewat in Haryana in two days concerning several cyber fraud cases registered nationwide. The arrested accused were identified as Deen Mohammad, Asif, Arif, Sarfaraz, Saqib, Ijaz, and Munajir among others. 

During the operation, a total of 50 cellphones, fake Aadhar cards, over 90 SIM cards procured with forged documents, cash, and several ATM cards were seized from the possession of the arrested accused. This was supposed to be the biggest crackdown on cyber criminals since April last year. Back then, the police had arrested 66 cyber criminals from 14 villages in an wide scale operation that involves several police stations and dedicated teams of police personnel that include hundreds of cops.

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