India: How Five Fraudsters From Gujarat Engineered a Rs 3.16 Crore Duping Scheme

February 8, 2024 - Reading time: 3 minutes

In an operation that reads like a script from a high-stakes financial thriller, the Hyderabad Police Cyber Crime Department apprehended five individuals from Ahmedabad, Gujarat, for executing a cunning scam that stripped a city-based woman of a staggering Rs 3.16 crore. The fraudsters, now facing the consequences of their elaborate scheme, were flown to Hyderabad and presented before a city court, marking a significant victory for the authorities in the relentless battle against cybercrime.

The perpetrators, identified as Swayam Timaniya (20), Meet Timaniya (30), Brijesh Patel (35), Harsh Pandya (31), and Shankar Lal (66), were adept at the art of deception. They masterfully conjured a fictitious company, Unity Stocks, promising unsuspecting investors sky-high returns of 100% on stock market investments. Their operation was sophisticated, leveraging bogus websites with names designed to evoke trust and legitimacy, such as Dafabet, Unity Exchange, and T20 IPL.

The narrative unfolds in November 2023, when the victim, seduced by the allure of lucrative returns, lodged a complaint with the cyber cell of the Hyderabad Police. She recounted how the accused had painted a picture of guaranteed wealth, urging her to park her funds in their phantom stock venture for a minimum of six months to reap a minimum of 30% returns on her principal amount. Trusting their word, she transferred a jaw-dropping sum of Rs 3,16,34,764 into their accounts—a decision she would come to regret deeply.

Joint Commissioner (CCS&SIT) A.V. Ranganath, in a detailed press briefing, revealed the intricate web of lies spun by the accused to entrap their victim. The investigation, which led to the initial arrest of Ronak Tanna, a key figure in the banking aspect of the scam, exposed the global scale of the operation, with links stretching to Dubai and Hong Kong. Tanna's confession peeled back another layer of the scam, unveiling the involvement of the five accused in facilitating the fraudulent flow of money through Hawala channels back into India.

The interconnections within the scam were complex. Swayam Timaniya was found to be in direct contact with the scheme's mastermind, Arjun, while Meet Timaniya and Brijesh Patel played pivotal roles in maintaining this connection. Harsh Pandya, an operator of Management Services in Fino Bank, emerged as a crucial cog in the machinery, agreeing to convert the digital heist into liquid cash through his banking channels.

This tale of deceit serves as a cautionary tale about the digital age's dark underbelly, where trust is easily manipulated, and financial dreams can quickly turn into nightmares. The Hyderabad Police's diligence has not only brought the culprits to justice but also recovered Rs 8 lakh in cash, a laptop, and 12 mobile phones, piecing together the evidence of this elaborate scam.

As this case unravels in the courts, it stands as a stark reminder to the public about the perils of entrusting money to unknown entities met through social media platforms. In an era where digital scams are becoming increasingly sophisticated, the vigilance of law enforcement and the awareness of the public are the first lines of defense against the shadowy world of cyber fraud.

DW Staff

David Lintott is the Editor-in-Chief, leading our team of talented freelance journalists. He specializes in covering culture, sport, and society. Originally from the decaying seaside town of Eastbourne, he attributes his insightful world-weariness to his roots in this unique setting.