OCAC CEO’s WhatsApp number hacking: More cyber fraudsters involved

Bhubaneswar: More cyber fraudsters were involved in hacking of WhatsApp number of Odisha Computer Application Centre (OCAC) CEO Manoj Kumar Patnaik, informed Odisha Crime Branch ADG Sanjeeb Panda today.

The Crime Branch officials ascertained it after grilling prime suspect Okwudiri Paschal, a Nigeria national, in the WhatsApp hacking case.

Revealing more about the case, Panda said that Paschal is not the only accused, but more number of cyber fraudsters associated with a Nigerian gang were involved in hacking of OCAC CEO’s WhatsApp number through which five persons in contact list of the official lost around Rs 7 lakh on November 13.

Paschal had transferred the duped amount to two bank accounts following hacking.

During interrogation, it came to fore that Paschal is in India since 2012. He was taking 10 percent commission for committing cybercrime from the gang reportedly operated in Nigeria.

Paschal was apprehended by Delhi Police on November 22 when he was withdrawing cash from an ATM in Bengaluru. He was taken on 8-day remand for interrogation.

Earlier this month, Delhi police had arrested a Nigerian identified as Chimelum Emmanuel Aniwetalu alias Maurice Degri, in a similar cyber fraud case in the national capital. Paschal, who was in Delhi Police’s “Most Wanted” list, is one of the key associates of Chimelum.

Following his arrest, Delhi police intimidated Odisha Crime Branch about the development. A two-member Crime Branch team led by a official in DSP-rank left for Bengaluru for interrogation.

Reportedly, Paschal had sent malicious links to gain control of OCAC CEO Manoj Patnaik’s WhatsApp account. The accused was operating from Delhi and Bengaluru.

Worth mentioning, the fraudster allegedly had hacked Patnaik’s WhatsApp number and later duped five persons from his contacts of Rs 7 lakh.

Patnaik realised about hacking of his WhatsApp number on November 10 night, when he received phone calls from his friends and colleagues asking about his health conditions. They informed him that they received a message from his number asking them for money for ‘medical emergency’. The next day, the victims lodged complaint with Saheed Nagar police in this regard.

Taking cognizance of allegation, Odisha Crime Branch filed a Suo Moto case and launched an investigation to trace the cyber fraudsters.

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