Starstruck by Kumar Sanu’s name, woman invests ₹40L in crypto, loses money

Mumbai: Using playback singer Kumar Sanu’s name, two frauds gained the trust of a businesswoman and lured her to invest $9,900 USD (equivalent to 40.44 lakh) in an Australian company that launches cryptocurrency.

The accused persons, identified as Deepu Sahu and Biman Das promised returns at the rate of 1.5% per day on an investment of 50 lakh and also said that Kumar Sanu was associated with them and soon, Sanu’s Non-Fungible Token (NFT – digital assets like cryptocurrency would also be launched in the market.

The complainant, Rituparna Mohanty, 33, a resident of Borivali East runs a medical supplies business along with her husband and the accused Sahu is one of her company’s clients for the past two years.

In April, this year, Sahu informed the complainant about the Australian company and insisted that she attend a zoom meeting with the company’s owner.

The complainant attended the meeting in which the accused Sahu was present along with three foreigners and Biman Das, who claimed to be the owner of the company “Flamingo Business”, which had its head office in Australia. In India, the company has its office in Kolkata, the complainant was told.

“Das had offered a return in terms of interest at the rate of 1.5% per day and a refund of 1.5% capital every day if she invested 50 lakh in the company. Das claimed that Bollywood playback singer Kumar Sanu also had a Non-Fungible Token (NFT) in the company,” stated the FIR (of which HT has a copy).

NFTs are generally created using the same type of programming used for cryptocurrencies. These cryptographic assets are based on blockchain technology, and cannot be exchanged or traded equivalently like other cryptographic assets.

Das also claimed that their company had in the past taken investment of 6,000 crore from the market and launched cryptocurrencies like YO Coin and Fast BNB.

In her statement to the police, the complainant woman claimed that on April 13, 2022, she attended another zoom meeting of the company in which singer Kumar Sanu was also present. The singer, however, did not say anything during the meeting. “They just showed Sanu’s presence in the meeting and later played a video,” she told police.

During this meeting, which was also attended by four foreigners, Biman Das encouraged investors to invest in their company. “Das said that playback singer Kumar Sanu’s NFT would soon come in the market and you would get good returns on the investment. He further said that on April 17, Sanu had a musical event in Kolkata and in this event, he would talk about the company’s investment. So, all the investors should attend that event as well. But I could not attend that event,” Mohanty said in her statement.

“Seeing the singer’s presence in the online meeting, I trusted the company and invested 40.44 lakh. I was told by Deepu Sahu that the status of all my investments and returns can be viewed on Metamask mobile app. Hence, I downloaded the app but my investment returns earned were not reflected in the app. Hence, when I asked Sahu about it, he told me that the investors would get benefits only when they invest 50 lakh.”

When the victim took several follow-ups, Sahu told her that she would not get her money back. She realised that she was cheated and approached the police.

Police have registered a case under sections 420 (cheating) and 406 (criminal breach of trust) and 34 (common intention) of the Indian Penal Code against Sahu and Das.

Mohanty, however, refused to comment on the matter on the ground that her complaint was under investigation. No comments have come from the singer’s representative as of now.

Senior police inspector Anil Ahwad of Kasturba Marg police station said, “No role of the singer has been found in the investigation and thus he cannot be termed as an accused in the case. Whether the singer had any knowledge about his name being misused in the fraud or not, even that is also not clear at this stage. We have registered a case against two accused based in Kolkata and investigating the matter.”