Vaccine maker Serum Institute of India (SII) was defrauded of more than Rs 1 crore in September 2022 when fraudsters sent the company messages requesting money transfers in the name of their chief executive officer Adar Poonawalla.
The Pune Police said today that they have arrested seven suspects in the case in which Serum Institute of India (SII) was defrauded of over Rs 1.01 crore, news agency ANI reported.
According to the complaint, in September 2022, Satish Deshpande, a director at the Serum Institute of India (SII), received a message on WhatsApp from a person impersonating SII CEO Adar Poonawalla requesting money be sent to seven different accounts.
The complaint made by the company's finance manager further stated that the sender demanded that Deshpande immediately transfer money to specific bank accounts. Deshpande transferred Rs 1,01,01,554 online into those accounts under the impression that the message came from Poonawalla, only to discover later that the company had been conned.
In response to a complaint filed in this regard, police conducted an investigation and identified the eight accounts to which the funds were transferred.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Smartana Patil (Zone II) said, "It has been revealed the money was transferred into the accounts of these seven people who have now been arrested from different parts of the country. However, the main accused is still absconding."
She went on to say that they had seized all of these accounts as well as 40 others from which the funds had been transferred.
"We have also frozen Rs 13 lakh in these accounts," she said.
The Cyber Unit of the Pune City Police arrested three suspects in the case on Friday. "The Cyber Unit of Pune City police has arrested 3 accused involved in the case relating to cheating Serum Institute of India posing as CEO Adar Poonawalla. A total of 7 accused have been arrested till now. The main accused remains absconding," the police said.
The Serum Institute of India is a biotechnology and biopharmaceuticals company based in Pune, India. Among other vaccines, the company manufactures the Covishield vaccine, which is used to protect against coronavirus.
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