Police have registered an offence based on a complaint lodged by the principal commissioner of income tax (I-T), alleging that a fraudster hacked into his WhatsApp account and demanded money from several of his friends, colleagues and relatives, saying the I-T officer was in dire need of money. Two of his friends even transferred ₹50,000 each to the fraudster, he said.
The complaint was filed by Ramchandra Shivalkar on behalf of the principal I-T commissioner, Amitabh Shukla, who sits in the Churchgate office of the department and stays in I-T Colony at Pedder Road in south Mumbai.
An officer from Gamdevi police station said Shukla learnt through his friends that a fraudster, using his profile photo and a new account, messaged all the persons in his friends’ list, asking them to pay to help him tide over some financial distress. The fraudster asked them to transfer the money to a new mobile number claiming that he required immediate cash, he said.
Two of Shukla’s friends, Nooruddhin Kadri and Vilma Dais, however, fell into the trap and transferred ₹50,000 each to the account of the fraudster, the complaint said.
The police said prima-facie it was suspected that the fraudster, using the Facebook friends’ list of Shukla, contacted his friends. Shukla had informed all his friends about the hacking via social media and asked people to be alert, they said.
“We have registered an offence under sections 419 [punishment for cheating by personation] and 420 [cheating] of the Indian Penal Code and under various sections of the Information Technology Act,” the police officer said, adding, “We will seek the help of south region cyber cell to trace the accused.”