Pharma consultant loses Rs 59L to ‘Japanese’ conmen

A police officer said a case under the IT Act had been opened and that they were trying to trace the suspects.

The managing director of a drugs consultancy lost Rs 59.5 lakh to conmen offering him the Bengaluru franchise of a Japanese pharmaceutical company, police said. 

Shivkumar Kunchithapatham, 60, was contacted by a person who introduced himself as Kiyoshi Mizuguchi, one of the three executive managing directors of Japanese company Mochida Pharmaceutical Co Ltd. Kiyoshi had responded to an advertisement that Kunchithapatham had put up online. 

Kiyoshi offered him the company’s Bengaluru franchise. Kunchithapatham was to supply a raw mineral called Tamovite from Magro Mining Enterprises, a firm based in West Bengal. Kiyoshi said he would place an order for $30 million (Rs 210 crore) and promised him a commission of Rs 16.5 crore. He asked him to contact Ruchika Singh, a sales manager at Magro Mining Enterprises. 

Kunchithapatham called up Singh and deposited Rs 10.5 lakh in a bank account to procure five packets of the mineral. Kiyoshi later told Kunchithapatham the company required 10,000 packets of Tamovite and asked him to place the order. 

When Kunchithapatham contacted Singh, she asked him to pay Rs 5 lakh as advance and another Rs 8.5 lakh as a business licence fee. He transferred all the money. 

When Kunchithapatham contacted Kiyoshi for the payment, he said the money had been released from the US and asked him to meet one Andrews in Dubai. 

Kunchithapatham flew to Dubai but instead of Andrews, a man named Rex met him at Intercontinental Dubai Festival City. He showed him a suitcase filled with dollar bills and said the money could be his if he paid Rs 35.5 lakh as processing and logistics charges. But Kunchithapatham got suspicious about the entire episode and returned to India. 

On November 7, Kunchithapatham received an e-mail from americaembassy001@usa.com that his money had arrived and asked him to pay Rs 35.5 lakh or else the amount will be returned to the company. 

Believing the e-mail, Kunchithapatham transferred the money to different bank accounts. But when he tried to contact the suspects, their numbers were off. Realising the cheating, Kunchithapatham lodged a complaint at the Whitefield station. A police officer said a case under the IT Act had been opened and that they were trying to trace the suspects.

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