2 Brothers Extort Money From Odisha Govt Officials Under ED Garb To Maintain Lavish Lifestyle

Bhubaneswar: The STF of Odisha Police has arrested two persons for allegedly extorting money from more than 300 government officials by posing as senior officers of Enforcement Directorate (ED).

They have been identified as Tarinisen Mohapatra (30) and Brahmashankar Mohapatra (27). They are siblings and belong to Dhenkanal town.

According to an official release, they were arrested on the basis of a complaint lodged by Chhatrapur sub-collector on March 15. The investigation revealed that the duo maintained a luxurious lifestyle by borrowing money from people of their locality. When the borrower pressurised them to return money, the brothers left for Ranchi in Jharkhand and worked with an NGO there. They also rented an accommodation at Rs 10,000 a month.

The poor returns at the NGO over the last one year prompted them to hatch another plan to live life king size. Having studied recent ED raids, they decided to scare and extort money from government officials by impersonating officers of the central agency.

Since Brahmashankar was a BCA dropout, he had good knowledge of computer and the duo created fake documents, letter heads, clearance letter and logo. They procured 2 SIMS (1 from Odisha and 1 from Ranchi) and made voice/WhatsApp calls to officials of different state government departments on phone numbers collected from web directory and other sources. They also saved their number in ‘True Caller’ and WhatsApp profile as “Sanjay Mishra ED”.  They identified themselves as Sanjaya Mishra, Additional Director of Enforcement Directorate.

“The duo would tell government officials that they had received a complaint against them from Vigilance Department relating to a corruption case and the ED would begin an enquiry and conduct raids on him.  If any government official did not respond their voice/WhatsApp calls , they sent SMS/ WhatsApp message, saying, This side Sanjaya Mishra, Director of Enforcement Department …. My investigation officer trying to connect you but you did not attend the call. Make an instant call. It’s very urgent else I can’t control the vigilance. They would then ask for money to settle/close the the case/inquiry,” the release said.

Though they made calls to around 340 government officials, they could succeed to extort money only in some cases. “They received the money in their PhonePe and GooglePay wallets. So far, the STF has traced the transaction/payment of more than Rs 16 lakh. After receiving the demanded money, the accused persons sent fabricated clearance letter of ED and central vigilance commission to the concerned officials,” it said.

A laptop, a desktop, five mobile handset ( Iphone, OnePlus, Realme ), bank passobooks, cheque books, fake Identity cards issued by UPKAR CPLI Project, 17 fake ATM-cum-debit cards have seized from them. Further investigation is on to ascertain whether they have targeted govt officials in Jharkhand in a similar manner while staying in Ranchi, it added.


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