According to the Pune Police, the fraudsters duped over Rs 1 crore by sending messages in the name of Adar Poonawalla, chief executive officer of the vaccine maker Serum Institute of India (SII) and demanding transfer of money.
According to a Bundgarden police station official, the fraud took place between the afternoons of Wednesday and Thursday.
A First Information Report (FIR) for cheating and offences under the Information Technology Act has been registered against unidentified persons, said senior inspector Pratap Mankar. Satish Deshpande, one of the directors of the SII, received WhatsApp messages from a person who posed as Adar Poonawalla, as per the FIR. The sender asked Deshpande to transfer money to certain bank accounts immediately, said the complaint filed by the finance manager of the firm.
Company officials transferred Rs 1,01,01,554 online, believing it was the CEO who had messaged, only to discover later that Poonawalla had never sent any such WhatsApp communication. Inspector Mankar stated that an investigation was underway. The SII, which has a plant near Pune, manufactures, among other vaccines, the Covishield vaccine against coronavirus.