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Lucknow Poet Kept Under “Digital Arrest” By Men Posing As CBI Officers

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The conman told Naresh Saxena that the CBI chief of Mumbai would talk to him.


A famous city-based progressive writer and poet, Naresh Saxena, was kept under digital arrest in his room for six long hours by cyberheist operators posing as CBI officers in Lucknow, police officials said.

The scammers, who aimed to con the elderly writer by frightening him with arrest in a money-laundering case, listened to his poetry for hours, even asking him to recite couplets of Mirza Ghalib and Faiz and praising his poems a lot.

Luckily, after six hours of this ‘digital house arrest’ through a video call, alarmed family members intervened and the cyber thugs failed to pull off the crime.

The writer later filed a complaint at Gomti Nagar police station.

As per reports, on July 7, at 3 pm, the writer was about to leave for a poetic session when he got a video call on his mobile phone. The man on the other side asked the writer if he had lost his Aadhar card.

“He then informed me that someone had opened an account in Mumbai using it, a money laundering case of crores had taken place through it and a case had been registered in a Mumbai police station. Then he introduced himself as CBI Inspector Rohan Sharma and said that an arrest warrant had been issued against me. But as I was an elderly person and seemed to be a good man, he would try to get me released soon if I cooperated in the investigation. Otherwise, I might face a long jail term,” Mr Saxena said.

The man then also verified the writer’s Aadhar card and asked questions pertaining to the number of bank accounts he had, the amount of money in them, the number of transactions, investments, income and income tax returns.

“I was able to see the man’s police uniform and a cap, which convinced me,” Mr Saxena added.

“As soon as he saw my room full of books, to ensure that I was the right person and the same poet he had called, he asked me to prove myself by reciting poetry. He asked me to recite the couplets of Mirza Ghalib and Faiz Ahmed Faiz. He even asked me to recite my own poems, which I did. He listened to my poems for a long time and even praised me a lot,” the writer said, adding that all this went on for six hours.

The video call session started at 3 p.m. and went on till 7-8 p.m.

The conman then told him that the CBI Chief of Mumbai would talk to him.

To convince Mr Saxena further, he told the ‘chief’ (perhaps his cohort) that Mr Saxena was a very good man and the ‘chief’ should also listen to his poems. He should be investigated on priority and be let off within 24 hours.

“The ‘chief’ said that since I was cooperating in the investigation, he would get me released within 24 hours and told me that I was currently under house arrest,” said Mr Saxena.

The men then told him to close the door of his room and not inform his family members while remaining in front of them on the video call, said the writer. But when Mr Saxena did not open his door for a long time, the family was alarmed.

Sensing that he was being tricked through a cyber fraud, his daughter-in-law snatched the phone and disconnected the call.

The matter is now under investigation, said an official of the Gomti Nagar police station.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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