Despite a tip in 2021 and subsequent arrest in 2022, Prajapati persisted with his alleged fraudulent schemes, leading to 600 First Information Reports (FIRs) against him in 2023 alone, Hyderabad Deputy Commissioner of Police (Cybercrime) KVM Prasad confirmed. Prajapati’s luck ran out again and he recently landed in the police raid.
Prajapati received a notice in 2021 for his alleged role in an investment fraud, but claimed he was unwell and was admitted to a hospital in Ahmedabad. As a result, the Hyderabad Police handed over a 41 CrPC notice and returned without taking custody of her as Covid-19 was raging.
A recent spike in complaints resulted in 12 FIRs being filed against Prajapati in just one day on Saturday, reflecting the scale of its operations.
During the investigation, it came to light that Prajapati exploded adhar cards of three Hyderabad residents, changing their address to a house in Lucknow and using this to open 45 bank accounts.
“In the initial stages, Prajapati used local SIM card cards activated in India, which allowed it to operate from abroad, particularly in Dubai while roaming. Later, he switched to mobile phone sharing apps, which are free to view OTPs while transferring money,” Prasad revealed.
With the help of his Chinese controllers, Prajapati managed to rack up daily profits ranging from Rs 10-15 lakh, thanks to a 3% commission on his fraudulent activities.
The illicitly obtained money was reportedly transferred to a cryptocurrency account controlled by Prajapati’s Chinese associates. Frequent travel to Dubai and China was uncovered, indicating face-to-face meetings with his handlers and highlighting the international fraud network.
Investigations revealed that the scope of international money transfers associated with the fraud stretched back to China, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam and the Philippines. Dubai emerged as a hub for operational IP addresses linked to fraud activities.
The modus operandi employed by the scammers was targeting people via WhatsApp, luring them with part-time online jobs, such as liking YouTube videos or providing Google ratings. Victims were tricked into believing that they were earning wages from these tasks.
“In the initial stages, scammers test the credulity of individuals with a particular focus on software engineers, who often fall victim to such schemes,” police explained.
Once caught, the victims were told to collect money through a Telegram link, leading them to register on specific domains and provided with a dashboard to invest in buying and selling products online. The fraudulent scheme led victims to invest amounts ranging from thousands to lakhs of rupees. But, the earnings presented were virtual.
Prajapati reportedly executed his plan with the help of locals, who facilitated the siphoning of money abroad through their bank accounts, the official said.