Desperate Kolkata Tipplers Getting Duped By Jharkhand E-Fraudsters Promising Home Delivery Of Liquor

by Jaideep Mazumdar - Apr 20, 2020 12:24 PM +05:30 IST
Desperate Kolkata Tipplers Getting Duped By Jharkhand E-Fraudsters Promising Home Delivery Of LiquorJharkhand fraudsters cheat Kolkata tipplers.
  • Driven to desperation, Kolkata’s tipplers ‘falling prey’ to Jharkhand fraudsters promising door delivery of liquor.

The ongoing coronavirus (Covid-19) lockdown has driven Kolkata’s tipplers to desperation. And sensing an opportunity, e-fraudsters from Jamtara in neighbouring Jharkhand have struck and defrauded them of lakhs of rupees.

Kolkata Police’s cyber cell has received a dozen complaints from victims, who have complained that they have been defrauded by a gang that had promised home-delivery of liquor, including expensive single malts.

The modus operandi of the gang from Jamtara, which has emerged in recent times as the epicentre for e-frauds in this part of the country (read this and this), was simple. The gang circulated news and informal advertisements through social media about home delivery of liquor.

Police, who suspect that many more victims have not come forward to register their complaints, said that for a few days, the gang even managed to deliver liquor to customers in Kolkata through their local contacts.

The ‘satisfied customers’ then spread the word around and in no time, orders started flowing in. The gang offered only 750 ml bottles of higher-end IMFL (Indian made foreign liquor) and even some blended scotch and brands of single malts.

“The gang accepted orders for only those brands of whiskey and vodka whose MRPs were at least Rs 600 for a 750 ml bottle and they would charge a premium of 100 per cent of the MRP. Desperation drove many to agree to pay even double the MRP for their liquor,” said a police officer.

A customer placing an order would have to transfer the full amount through bank transfer, UPI or GooglePay. And after the money had been transferred, it was a long and futile wait for the liquor to show up at their doorsteps.

“I saw a post of someone home-delivering liquor and called the number. The man seemed genuine and said that the bottle would be delivered to my home within an hour. I made a bank transfer for three bottles, but nothing came. When I called the number again, the man said that the delivery boy was stopped by cops. But after 3 or 4 hours, the number became unavailable,” a 34-year-old resident of Jadavpur in south Kolkata posted on the Kolkata Police’s facebook page.

Police said some victims even shared their CVV and netbanking details and suffered huge losses. One victim lost Rs 74,000 and the total amount that the dozen-odd complaints have been defrauded of is about Rs 3 lakh.

Officers of the cyber cell said that there would be many more victims, who have not come forward since they would not want police to know they wanted to source their liquor illegally from bootleggers.

Desperation is driving tipplers to great and often dangerous lengths. In East Midnapore, four persons purchased ethanol from a homeopathy store (ethanol is an ingredient in some homeopathy medicines) and drank it last Friday. Two of them died on Sunday. Many IMFL consumers have switched to illicit country liquor also.

Many liquor shops all over Bengal have been broken into and raided by tipplers. The latest such incident was reported from central Kolkata last weekend when five regular customers of a liquor shop were nabbed while attempting their third break-in.

Incidentally, Kolkata accounts for a large chunk of online searches on ‘homemade alcohol’ and ‘how to make liquor at home’. Online tutorials and ‘do it yourself’ videos on brewing liquor at home are also big hits with tipplers of the city who have been disappointed by repeated government announcements and their subsequent withdrawals of allowing home-delivery of liquor.

Jaideep Mazumdar is an associate editor at Swarajya.

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