GILGIT: In what appears to be a one-of-a-kind con, a person impersonating Federal Minister for Commerce and Trade Makhdoom Amin Fahim, robbed a position holder of Karakoram International University (KIU) of Rs240,000 by befooling the Vice Chancellor (VC) of the institution.
The drama occurred on Monday after Kavita Parveen, a KIU position holder received a phone call from VC Najma Najam. “The VC asked my niece to attend a ceremony being organised in Islamabad for the position holders,” Afiat Nazar, Parveen’s uncle said. The VC told Parveen to reach Islamabad by the evening of February 21 to claim the award, he added. “But it wasn’t possible for us to get there at such short notice so we informed the VC of our inability to make it on time,” Nazar said, adding that the VC later called Parveen and gave her a telephone number, which she claimed belonged to Makhdoom Amin Fahim, for further guidance. “When Parveen called on that number, someone with a similar voice as Fahim took the call,” Nazar said.
He said that the person posing to be the minister told Parveen she was being awarded a car but she first needed to deposit a sum of Rs260,000 as some sort of a car tax in account No 032-01335953001 of the Standard Chartered Bank. The person impersonating Fahim told Parveen that the president had announced the prize of a car for the students with high educational achievements. “Since the VC had given us the telephone number and the voice of the person was also familiar, we deposited the money and also got the receipt from the bank as was directed by the person on the phone,” Nazar said. He said that later when a relative went to Makhdoom Amin Fahim’s office in Islamabad to inform him that the money had been deposited, people in his office denied having made any call to Parveen. Upon checking, it was confirmed that the minister had not contacted Parveen nor was he linked to the matter in any way.
Parveen’s relatives then tried to draw out the money but it was too late as they were informed that someone named Nilam Imtiaz had already drawn the money.
Registrar KIU, Dr Ahsan Ullah Mir, said that someone called the VC saying he was Makhdom Amin Fahim and asked her to send KIU students for an awards ceremony in Islamabad upon which VC Najam contacted some students and told them about the ‘presidential ceremony’ and asked them to contact the so-called minister on his cell number. Mir said that a case has been registered with the police.
Deputy Commissioner Gilgit Asad Zamin, from whose office the thugs had apparently gotten the VC’s number, said the government has taken the matter very seriously.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 23rd, 2011.
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