An unidentified conman, who introduces himself as ‘Chief Justice of the Allahabad High Court Justice Rajesh Bindal’ has been sending fraudulent WhatsApp messages to lawyers for the last one month asking them to purchase Amazon gift cards through a link forwarded on their numbers.
The conman has put up the photograph of the Chief Justice as his profile picture.
As most of the lawyers do not have the personal number of the chief justice saved in the contact list of their cell phones, they were initially caught unawares when the fraudster forwarded messages on their WhatsApp numbers introducing himself as the chief justice.
Bulbul Godiyal, senior advocate and former additional advocate general of the state government, is among the senior lawyers who have received such WhatsApp messages from the fraudster.
She has lodged an FIR with the Vibhuti Khand police station in this connection.
“On July 25, I got a message on my WhatsApp number. The person introduced himself as the chief justice when I asked him about his identity. As the chief justice’s number was not saved in the contact list of my cell phone, I initially thought the person was the chief justice,” she said.
Bulbul is also the secretary of mediation and conciliation organising committee of the Lucknow High Court and she thought the chief justice wanted to know something related to her work.
“But the moment the person at other end started messaging about Amazon gift cards, I realised he was a fraudster,” Godiyal said.
Superintendent of Police, cybercrime, Lucknow, Triveni Singh said a probe into the matter was in progress.
“An FIR has been lodged with the Vibhuti Khand police station. After initial investigation, the cell number from which WhatsApp messages were being sent has been located in Rajasthan,” Singh added.
Jaideep Mathur, senior lawyer, also received messages of financial fraud. “These are obviously fake messages. The only thing we should do is block and report such messages on WhatsApp. This is what I have done,” said Mathur.
Another senior lawyer Desh Deepak Chopra said, “It was a fake message in the name of the chief justice. The sender also had a profile picture of the chief justice on his WhatsApp number. I have reported the matter to the OSD of the high court,” said Chopra.
SP, Triveni Singh, said that this new trend has surfaced in the past few months wherein fraudsters are using different tricks by sending WhatsApp messages to prominent people, including senior lawyers and bureaucrats.
The SP said several such incidents had been reported and two separate cases by senior bureaucrats were registered with the cybercrime police station recently.
He said the cybercrime team was working on the cases and discovered that such frauds were operated from two places — Jamtara in Jharkhand and Mewat area in Mathura, Rajasthan and Haryana’s triangular border.