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Retired Chartered Accountant Loses Over Rs 1.97 Crore in Online Stock Market Fraud

Last updated: 20 May 2024

An investigation has been initiated after Madhukant Patel, an 88-year-old retired Chartered Accountant from Ahmedabad, reportedly lost Rs 1.97 crore in an alleged stock trading cyber fraud, according to the police.

Patel filed a complaint with the Ahmedabad cyber crime branch, revealing that the scam began in early February when he received a WhatsApp message from an unknown number. The sender, Sunil Singhania from Bengaluru, claimed to be an assistant of stock market expert Karanveer Dhillon.

Retired Chartered Accountant Loses Over Rs 1.97 Crore in Online Stock Market Fraud

Following Singhania's invitation, Patel joined a WhatsApp group named 'Stock Vanguard 150,' where Singhania and Dhillon provided stock recommendations. Believing the tips to be credible, Patel engaged in further correspondence with Singhania and joined additional groups where other members endorsed the investment advice.

Trusting the legitimacy of the recommendations, Patel began investing via a website - app.alicexa.com. Between March 12 and April 25, he invested Rs 1.78 crore based on the buy-sell tips provided by Singhania.

Patel's suspicions arose when Singhania suggested investing in the Vodafone Idea follow-on public offer (FPO), promising high returns. Despite assurances from Singhania, Patel became wary and attempted to withdraw Rs 1.71 crore. Singhania claimed that a 15% tax was required for the withdrawal. Patel paid Rs 18.70 lakh but was then asked for an additional 1% of the total investment, a demand Patel found dubious.

Realizing he had been scammed, Patel approached the Ahmedabad cyber crime branch. An FIR has been lodged against "unknown persons" under various sections of the IPC, including 406 (criminal breach of trust), 419 (cheating by impersonation), 420 (cheating), 120B (criminal conspiracy), and under section 66(d) of the Information Technology Act for using communication devices to cheat by impersonation.

Investigating officer DB Patel confirmed the probe is ongoing and efforts are being made to identify and apprehend the accused.

This incident highlights the growing risk of cyber fraud in stock trading and the importance of verifying the credibility of online investment opportunities.

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