In a baffling development, vaccine manufacturing giant Serum institute was recently duped of Rs 1 crore when an accused posed as the company CEO Adar Poonawalla and sent WhatsApp messages to one of the directors of SII. The Pune-based vaccine giant has been duped of the shocking amount by cyber fraudsters who for now remain unidentified.

The accused allegedly posed as Adar Poonawalla, the CEO of Serum Institute of India, and sent WhatsApp messages to one of the directors. Int the messages, the accused sought immediate money transfer to multiple accounts.

The incident came to the fore after an FIR was filed at the Bundgarden police station earlier on Friday. The complaint was filed by the company’s finance manager Sagar Kittur. As per the complaint the incident took place earlier between September 7, 1.35 pm, and September 8, 2.30 pm, Indian Express reported.

Based on the report, an FIR was filed under multiple sections of Indian Penal Code, including Section 419 (cheating by personation), Section 420 (cheating and dishonesty), and other sections pertaining to the Information Technology Act.

For the unversed, Serum Institute of India is the world’s largest vaccine maker, and played a huge part in the country’s fight against the pandemic. The company’s ‘Covisheild’ vaccine, was among the first two vaccines approved for emergency usage in 2020.

The Facts of the Matter

While reports of people, who are not so well-versed with technology, getting duped are common, a shocking cybercrime has emerged proving that it can trap anyone and everyone.

Pune’s Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer, was very recently duped to the tune of Rs 1 crore after the accused posed as its CEO Adar Poonawalla.

The matter came to the fore after a complaint was filed by SII’s finance manager Sagar Kittur with the Bundgarden police station earlier on Friday. As per Kittur’s complaint, the incident occurred between September 7, 1.35 pm, and September 8, 2.30 pm.

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Company Director Receives Message from Adar Poonawalla

As per his complaint, one of the Serum Institute of India’s directors Satish Deshpande received a message on WhatsApp from the company CEO’s phone number. In the message, the CEO had given instructions to transfer money to multiple accounts.

As directed, Satish Deshpande made sure that a sum total of Rs 1,01,01,554 was transferred from SII accounts to the accounts mentioned in the text. As the hours progressed, the company top officials later realized that Adar Poonawalla had not sent any such messages.

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The Shocking Realization

Realizing that they had been duped to the tune of a little over Rs 1 crore, the company officials took to the police and a complaint was filed in the matter. Based on the complaint, the police filed an FIR under multiple sections of IPC.

Complaint Filed

This included Section 419 (Punishment for cheating by personation), Section 420 (Cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property), Section 34 (Acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention).

Further, sections of IT Act were also added in the FIR.

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Accused Unidentified & Absconding

For now, the accused remain unidentified and absconding. The police told media that efforts are on to identify and nab them as soon as possible. The police are also tracing the accounts that were given by the fake Adar Poonawalla to receive the money.


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