Maharashtra Cyber, the state police's cyber wing, has registered a case against online fraudsters who cheated people by posing as dealers of Remdesivir and Tocilizumab, drugs used in the treatment of COVID-19, an official said on Thursday.
In several of these cases, the unidentified accused sent water and fake medicines in vials labelled with the manufacturer's name and logo, after receiving money through online transactions, the official said.
The action was taken based on a complaint lodged on Wednesday by a prominent pharma company that manufactures and distributes Remdesivir and Tocilizumab across the country, he said.
According to the complainant, a few mobile numbers were posted on WhatsApp groups and social media platforms, claiming that these were contact details of authorized dealers of the pharma company, the official said.
When people called on these phone numbers, the accused would ask them to make 50 per cent payment for the medicines through online transactions, he said.
After the payment was made, the caller would tell the customer that the medicines are on the way or will be made available within a few hours, following which mobile phone would get switched off, he said.
The pharma company started receiving mails about the fraud from April 27 onwards and the number of such complaints were increasing, he said.
Preliminary investigations have revealed that several needy people had paid the entire cost of the medicines in advance, the official said.
An FIR under sections 420 (cheating) among other provisions of the Indian Penal Code, Information Technology Act (2000), The Trademarks Act (1999) and Drugs and Cosmetics Act (1940) has been registered in this regard, he said.
The investigation team has also issued directives to relevant telecom service providers to seek details of the numbers used for the fraud, and have approached banks to freeze the accounts to which the online transactions were made, he said.
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