A 22-year-old Indian based in Italy was arrested for allegedly posing as the Vice President of India by creating a fake WhatsApp account using Jagdeep Dhankhar's picture as his profile display to dupe people and seek favours from senior bureaucrats, police said on Monday.
The accused, Gagandeep Singh, who hails from Jammu, has been living in Offanengo, Italy since 2007 with his family. He studied till Class 9 in India and passed 12th from Italy where he worked as a labour in a company, they said.
Police said that Singh got the idea of impersonation after watching several YouTube videos.
An associate of his, Ashwani Kumar, 29, has also been arrested. Kumar supplied the OTP, or One Time Password, to Singh to create a fake WhatsApp account.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (Intelligence Fusion and Strategic Operations) Prashant Gautam said that before creating the fake WhatsApp account using a picture of the Vice President, Singh watched several YouTube videos and got contact details of senior government officials from the internet.
"After that, he obtained an OTP from his associate to create a WhatsApp account with an Indian mobile number. After creating the WhatsApp account, he took a picture of the Vice President of India as a profile picture. Using this impersonating account, he started sending messages to senior government officials to seek favours from senior bureaucracy," he said.
The matter came to light after someone informed the police about the scam, following which a case was registered.
"Immediately, details of the impersonating WhatsApp profile were obtained from WhatsApp and the IP address of the sender was traced to Italy. The team started working on all technical aspects and conducted raids, following which a person identified as Ashwani Kumar, a resident of Samana in Punjab, was apprehended who had shared OTP with the imposter to create the WhatsApp account," Gautam said.
During its investigation, police identified the main accused as an Indian national -- Gagandeep Singh, who was living in Italy.
"The team collected details about the accused from Foreigners' Regional Registration Office (FRRO), Banks and regional passport office and subsequently, the accused was apprehended from IGI airport," the officer said.
Police said that five mobile phones used in the commission of crime have been recovered from his possession.