Bank accounts of 27 diamond manufacturing and trading companies in Surat have been frozen by the police in Kerala and Telangana in relation to a cyber fraud case.
No clear reason has been provided, although one news report mentions a police probe into alleged cyber-fraud.
Among those firms affected are several natural diamond manufacturers with annual turnovers of more than $1.2m They were due to raise the matter with the police.
The companies began to receive notices from their respective banks from August 9 that said that the police of the two states had asked them to freeze the accounts “with immediate effect for procedural review”. They were also directed to reach out to the police stations for “further assistance”.
A diamond merchant made a representation before Union Home Minister Amit Shah, alleging that the cyber police has been taking such action against them for the last two years, amounting to harassment. The letter (accessed by The Indian Express) to Shah was written on August 14 by merchant R P Lalan on behalf of all such merchants whose bank accounts have been frozen.
The letter stated, “The government had started cyber crime cells across the country with good intentions. Since last two years, cyber police officers of different states are involved in blocking bank accounts of diamond businessmen and other businessmen. Once the police freeze bank account of a fraudulent person, the police simultaneously freeze bank accounts of seven to eight firms, which have no connection with the fraudulent person.
When these businessmen contact the local police station, where such fraud complaints have been registered, they fail to get satisfactory response and even get threats of getting booked.”
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