Transgender posing as Odisha minister dupes hospital owner of Rs 46,500; arrested

Bhubaneswar: The Cyber police in Cuttack have arrested a transgender on charges of duping the owner of private hospital of Rs 46,500 by posing as the Agriculture Minister in Odisha.

The accused has been identified as Soumya Ranjan Pradhan (30) alias Sulagna, a resident of Kishorenagar area in Angul district.

According to police, the accused had called the owner of a private hospital in Cuttack over phone on September 8 and identified himself as the PA to Agriculture Minister Ranendra Pratap Swain. The accused informed the hospital owner that the minister himself would talk to her over some urgent issues.

The accused, posing as the Agriculture minister, talked to the hospital owner over phone and informed the latter that a religious lady, named as Maa Sibani Durga, was eager to visit the hospital to praise the authorities for their good work.

Later, the accused, impersonating as Maa Sibani Durga, spoke to the hospital owner and sought donations for buying ghee for performing a Hawan.

Without suspecting anything, the owner of the hospital had transferred Rs 46,500 from her account to the Phonepe number of the fraudster, said the police.

Upon verification, the hospital owner later found that there was no call from the minister’s side to her. Soon, the hospital owner lodged a complaint in this regard with cyber police.

During investigation, the cyber police came to know about the involvement of the transgender in the fraud.

“The accused had learnt various tricks for committing financial fraud during his stay in Delhi around two years ago. As part of a delegation of transgenders, the accused had once met the Agriculture minister and observed his way of talking. He duped several people by posing as the minister and his PA. The accused had talked to the hospital owner by posing as the minister’s PA, the minister and the fictitious lady called Maa Sibani Durga,” said Cyber police IIC Chandrika Swain today.

During the investigation, the police found that the accused had duped at least 100 people, including the owners of several private hospitals, hotels and restaurants, of around Rs 10 lakh in the recent past.

The accused was using pre-activated mobile numbers and bank accounts of some innocent people to commit the crime, Swain added.

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