According to information received from Anyesh Roy, DCP Cyber Crime Unit, Special Cell, Delhi Police the unit received a complaint from the Ministry of Labour and Employment that on 25 June 2019, an e-mail was received in their office from someone pretending to be one Lalit Dagar and claiming himself to be the newly appointed Pay & Accounts Officer, Pay & Accounts Office, Directorate General of Employment , Ministry of Labour & Employment, Chennai wherein he had requested to approve his user-ID on Public Financial Management System (PFMS) as a Pay and Accounts Officer. To create this ID, he had mentioned another e-mail ID with a mobile number and a landline number.
This mail had two attachments, one related to his appointment as Pay & Accounts Officer (PAO), under the fake letter head of Government of Tamil Nadu and the other one was a request for approval of his ID as Pay & Accounts Officer. After scrutiny by the Accounts Office, it was revealed that no such person with the name of Lalit Dagar is posted in Pay & Accounts Office.
CyPAD, the Cyber Crime Unit of Delhi Police immediately registered a criminal case under applicable sections of IT Act in order to prevent this malicious and fake con-job from spreading its net wider as this could have had extremely serious ramifications. A special team was formed under the supervision of Aditya Gautam, ACP/CyPAD consisting of Insp. Parveen, SI Parbhat, SI Vipin, ASI Harjeet, HC Jitender, Ct. Ashish Malik, Ct. Saurav Siwach and Ct. Veer Pratap. Investigation was taken up using technical assistance from labs of CyPAD. After painstaking efforts, the accused, i.e. the creator of the fake ID was identified and his location was zeroed in to Distt. Moregaon, Assam. A team of CyPAD reached Distt. Moregaon, Assam and apprehended the accused, 21-year-old Noor Mohammad Ali s/o Babul Ali. The relevant devices and SIM cards used to create the fake IDs and call central Government offices were recovered from the accused. Further investigation is underway.
On interrogation, it has been revealed that the accused Noor Mohammad was arrested earlier this year by Delhi Police for a similar offence in which he, along with his associates, had managed to successfully create and get approved, a fake ID of Pay and Accounts Officer in the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and managed to fraudulently create bills/sanctions and thus, transfer money to the tune of Rs. 3.86 crores to multiple bank accounts. He came out on bail a few weeks ago and decided to commit a similar offence again as he thought that he wouldn’t be caught this time.
PFMS (Public Financial Management System) is the payment gateway for all ministries of Government of India, and has been developed by and is operational under Controller General of Accounts, Department of Expenditure, Ministry of Finance. The final payment in every department is made through the office of Pay and Accounts Officer. Thus, creating a fake ID of Pay and Accounts Officer is the first and the most vital step in this fraud which could have led to a massive fraud with several government ministries.
In this particular instance, the accused logged on to the website of PFMS and attempted to create fake ID of Pay and Accounts Officer of the ministry. The IDs created on PFMS need to be approved by the Principal Accounts Office of the concerned ministry. When the request for such approval was received over email at the Principal Accounts Office, the accounts officer grew suspicious and asked for supporting documents and the accused then sent forged and fabricated documents to try and pretend to be a newly appointed Pay and Accounts Officer in the Ministry.
Similar complaints have also been received from other ministries such as Coal, Civil Aviation and Law Ministry, in which the same person, i.e. the arrested accused Noor Mohammad had attempted to get fake and bogus PFMS IDs approved. Investigation is being done with regard to the role of the accused in those incidents as well.
Investigation of the case is in progress. Efforts are being made to identify the involvement of others in the scam.