KOLLAM: The Kollam district Crime Branch probing the online lottery fraud has decided to seek aid from Interpol to bust the suspected Nigerian racket behind the crime. A team of Crime Branch officials will set off for Delhi on Monday for further investigation. The Police had earlier arrested Muhammad Shareef, 44, of Kunnuvila Veedu, Chathinamkulam in Chandanathoppe here for swindling money from at least a dozen people across the State. He has been remanded in police custody on Friday for collecting evidences.
Mr. Shareef, who was a driver abroad, was trapped in a fake online lottery website under the name ‘NewYork online lottery’ two years ago. He received bogus messages stating that he had won Rs 150 crore as prize money. He quit his job to reach his hometown as he was directed to pay the tax amount in order to claim the prize. Without realising that he had received a fake information, Mr. Shareef borrowed money from many to pay the tax amount.
Among the documents he pledged for borrowing money, there was also a fake one that contained the signature of then Chief Minister. This was brought to the notice of the then DGP by the political secretary of the Chief Minister. The cyber cell took Muhammad Shareef into custody and was given instructions to back off from his attempt. However, he continued borrowing money in the name of the lottery he won and used it to lead a luxurious life. Nearly 15 complaints have been received by the police regarding money swindling by Mr. Shareef. The district Crime Branch nabbed the culprit from Kozhikkode based on the complaints. The police also suspect an international mafia behind the crime and will seek the support of Interpol to find the origin of the fraudulent activity.