Home / News / India /  SII duped of 1 cr as fraudsters pose as CEO Adar Poonawalla demanding money

MUMBAI : Vaccine maker Serum Institute of India (SII) was duped of more than 1 crore when fraudsters sent the company messages in the name of their Chief Executive Officer Adar Poonawalla and asking for transfer of money. The development was confirmed by Pune Police. 

The fraud unfolded between the afternoons of Wednesday and Thursday, said an official of Bundgarden police station. 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.

Believing that it was the CEO who had messaged, company officials transferred 1,01,01,554 online, only to realize later that Poonawalla had never sent any such WhatsApp communication. Investigation was going on, said inspector Mankar.

The Pune Police has informed that FIR was registered under Indian Penal Code (IPC sections 419 (cheating by personation), 420 (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property) and 34 (common intention) and sections under the Information Technology Act.

The police further added that the accused who sent the WhatsApp and the ones who hold the bank account into which the transfers were made are yet to be identified and nabbed.

The Serum Institute of India, is an Indian biotechnology and biopharmaceuticals company which has a plant near Pune. The company produces the Covishield vaccine used against coronavirus among other vaccines.

On 2 September, the Central government launched India's first vaccine against cervical cancer--Quadrivalent Human Papillomavirus vaccine (qHPV), has been developed by the Serum Institute of India (SII) and the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) on Thursday. According to the Serum Institute, the vaccine is likely to cost 200-400 per dose.


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