The owner of a pharmaceuticals company in Bandra was allegedly defrauded of ₹1.05 crore in a scam perpetrated in the name of a well-known pharma company based in the United Kingdom (UK). He is a partner in the Baijnath Minerals Pvt Ltd in Kalanagar, Bandra, which manufactures pharmaceutical as well as engineering products.
According to the police, the victim – Sachin Bajla – was approached via LinkedIn on October 10 by a person identifying herself as Kristy Goodwill.
“Claiming to be Assistant Manager in the Purchases section at the British pharma giant, Britannia Pharmaceuticals, Goodwill stated that their company wanted to do business with Baijnath Minerals,” said a police officer.
The email came from a domain similar to Britannia’s, he added. Bajla checked the company’s credentials online, after which he was convinced that he was dealing with a genuine representative of the UK pharma giant.
The officer added that over multiple emails, ‘Goodwill’ told Bajla that Britannia used to procure a chemical called Opyzick Liquid Extract from a Dhule-based supplier and that the supply chain had run into some problems
Goodwill’s emails further stated that Britannia would be happy to enlist Bajla’s aid to streamline the procurement, and asked him to buy the chemical from their supplier, HSKRM Source Supplements and provide it to them for a profit.
Bajla agreed and contacted the person – Dr Krisha Dwivedi – named in Goodwill’s email and procured a three-litre sample. Subsequently, he flew to Delhi on October 14 and met one of the accused, who introduced himself as ‘Simon Collins’. He handed the samples to him and within a few days received another email, stating that the samples had passed Britannia’s quality control checks and that he could now send a larger sample.
“Accordingly, I contacted Dr Dwivedi again and placed an order for 50 litres of the chemical. She sent me a list of bank accounts and I paid a total of ₹1.05 crore in various amounts to different accounts. However, after that, she started avoiding my calls and her number ultimately went out of service,” Bajla told the police in his statement.
Bajla then tried the contact numbers he had for Goodwill and Collins and found those too out of service. He subsequently asked one of his employees based in Dhule to check the credentials of HSKRM Source Supplements and the manager got back to him saying that no such company existed, after which Bajla approached the Kherwadi police on Wednesday.
“We have registered an offence of cheating under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code, along with relevant sections of the Information Technology (IT) Act. The process of tracing Internet Protocol (IP) addresses from which the concerned emails originated has begun and we are also in touch with the banks where the accused opened the accounts to perpetrate the scam,” the officer added.