Srinagar, Aug 28: In a shocking incident of cheat and deceit, customer care number (121) of telecommunication company Bharti Airtel was used to dupe a poor labour from Bemina Srinagar of Rs one lakh thirty-five thousand.
Irshad Mushtaq Bhat, a 30-year-old labourer from Gulshan Abad Bemina locality of Srinagar city has been duped after being told by a caller, identifying himself as Prithiv Raj, that he had won Rs 25 lakh as the prize money in the Kaun Banega Crorepati (KBC) lucky draw and he needs to deposit Rs 1,35000 as tax to clear his prize money.
Irshad who along with his wife and ailing baby appeared in Press Enclave Srinagar during morning hours told CNS that, “I first received a call on August 25 from the mobile number 0016108509177 and the caller informed that I had won Rs 25 lakh as the prize money in KBC.” He said that the caller informed him that KBC is sponsored by telecommunication company Airtel and he will receive a call from 121 Airtel customer care centre and the customer care will tell him about the further proceedings.
“After five minutes I received a call from Airtel customer care on my mobile number 8493090043 and the caller asked me to have a chat with Bollywood star Amitabh Bachan who according to him was on line. The voice of the actor was exactly the same that I have heard on tv or radio,” he said adding that the ‘actor’ after congratulating him advised him to spend the prize money for the right cause.
The customer care executive informed me to meet Airtel executive Airtel head office located opposite Church Lane Sonawar. He asked me to handover Rs 85,000 to the executive as income tax against his prize money. “The executive whom I met in the premises of Airtel head office Sonwar was well-dressed and an identity card of the company was hanging around his neck. “After handing over Rs 85,000 to him, the person informed me to deposit Rs 50,000 more and I immediately rushed to Punjab National Bank branch Batamaloo where I deposited the money in the account of one M.Rajni (account number 0629000100325006).”
“I was asked to send my identity proof and a photo to an e-mail id, firstname.lastname@example.org which I did immediately. After depositing and handing over money to them, I lost contact with them as their mobile number is switched off. I lost everything and now I hope Crime Brach will investigate the matter,” he said adding that he has already registered a report in Crime Branch.
“I fail to understand how they used 121 Airtel customer care number. It was this number that made be believe that it is not a game. I am an Airtel subscriber and we receive dozens of calls from Airtel customer care and we never doubt the integrity of these callers. How they used 121 customer care number has been puzzling and torturing me,” he said.
When CNS asked the same question to an Airtel official, she said that she is herself surprised and would look into the matter.
2015 Kashmir Despatch