Mangaluru man cleared of cyber scam charge in Saudi Arabia: A cautionary tale for expats

News Network
June 17, 2024

An Indian expatriate working in Saudi Arabia’s Tabuk, has been cleared of allegations related to a hacker's scam and is now permitted to return to India for leave. The man, who wishes to remain anonymous, hails from the outskirts of Mangaluru city in Karnataka.

Employed by the Greek company for nearly three years, he had been diligently performing his duties. On November 15, 2022, he received a call from an individual pretending to be an officer from the Saudi Arabian Interior Ministry. The “officer” informed him that his Iqama (Residency Permit) was about to expire and sent him an OTP (One-Time Password) to validate it. Trusting the caller’s identity, the man accepted the OTP and continued his work without issues until he planned to take a vacation.

On September 30, 2023, while traveling from Tabuk to Jeddah International Airport for his flight to India, he was contacted by his company and instructed to return to Tabuk because his exit re-entry had not been processed due to a case against his Iqama.

Upon his return, he discovered that SAR 17,000 had been withdrawn from a citizen’s bank account through his account. The man had no knowledge of this transaction and did not have any money in his account. Recalling the OTP incident from a year earlier, he realized he had been a victim of a cyber-scam.

A case was filed against him at the concerned police station, and he made a clear statement to the police about the incident. After an investigation lasting more than nine months, he was exonerated and is now allowed to go on leave to India.

The man expressed his gratitude to all those who supported him during the ordeal, including the authorities, his company, and social workers advocate P. A. Hameed Padubidri and Naufal Mulky for their unwavering support and constant follow-up.

This incident serves as a stark warning to other expatriates: be cautious and vigilant against unknown callers and unsolicited requests for sensitive information.

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News Network
July 12,2024

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New Delhi: In a relief to a Kannada news channel which extensively telecast the sex abuse case involving former JDS MP Prajwal Revanna and his family, the Supreme Court on Friday stayed a Karnataka High Court, stopping broadcast of Power TV on the ground of lack of proper licence.

A bench of Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud and Justices J B Pardiwala and Manoj Misra said this was nothing but sheer political vendetta.

"We are inclined to protect the freedom of speech and expression. It looks like a plain case of political vendetta and this court would be failing in its duty if it does not protect the petitioner," the bench said.

The court issued notice to the Union government and others on a petition filed by Power TV and others.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Union government, contended it was not borne out from record.

He said the show cause notice of February 9 was related to the channel subletting its uplink and downlinking licence.

The apex court, however, stayed the High Court order till Monday.

It also fixed the matter for hearing on Monday.

The Karnataka High Court had restrained Power TV from carrying out any broadcasting activity till July 9.

Justice S R Krishna Kumar had passed the interim order on June 25, after hearing two petitions filed by senior serving IPS officer Dr B R Ravikanthegowda, and JDS leader and MLC HM Ramesh Gowda and his wife Dr A Ramya Ramesh.

The petitioners claimed despite proceedings already initiated by the central government against the television channel and other private respondents, they continued to broadcast without arranging for the necessary licence renewal.

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting stated a show cause notice was issued on a complaint, that the permission for Power TV was valid till October 12, 2021, and its renewal application dated December 30, 2022, was under examination.

The channel and its director Rakesh Shetty have reportedly been at the forefront of campaigns against Janata Dal (Secular) leaders like Prajwal Revanna and Suraj Revanna, who have been accused of sexual assault.

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News Network
July 7,2024

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At least five journalists have been killed in Israeli airstrikes on different places across the Gaza Strip over the last 24 hours. 

The Gaza media office said Saturday that the regime's forces killed three journalists in the Nuseirat refugee camp in the center of the territory.

Two of those who were killed in the camp were from the Palestine Media Agency. The other journalist was from the Islamic University Radio in Gaza.

Two more journalists were also killed in separate attacks in Gaza City, said the media office.

The latest deaths take the number of journalists killed in the besieged Palestinian territory since October to 158.

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, Israel’s military campaign on the Gaza Strip has become "the bloodiest for journalists" since the committee began documenting journalist killings worldwide in 1992.

The New York-based NGO said that media workers are being killed in the regime’s bombardment of the Palestinian territory at a rate with no parallel in modern history.

The committee put the number of media workers killed as of July 5 at 108 since the war began, also making it the deadliest period since the group began gathering data in 1992.

UN experts have previously warned about “the extraordinarily high numbers of journalists and media workers who have been killed, attacked, injured and detained in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.” 

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News Network
July 10,2024

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Mangaluru: BJP leader and Mangaluru City North MLA Bharath Shetty has been booked for his alleged comments against Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha Rahul Gandhi, police said on Wednesday.

At a press conference here, Mangaluru City Police Commissioner Anupam Agarwal said that an FIR has been filed by the police in Kavoor police station over the complaint lodged by K Anil, a Congress corporator of the Mangaluru City Corporation.

In the complaint, the Congress corporator alleged that MLA Bharath Shetty had made a provocative statement taking the name of Rahul Gandhi.

Mr Agarwal said an investigation is on.

Meanwhile, Congress party workers and leaders on Wednesday continued their tirade against Mr Shetty over his remarks against their party leader.

At a gathering in Surathkal on Sunday, the BJP MLA, who represents Mangaluru City North had stated that Mr Gandhi should be "arrested inside Parliament and slapped". This statement had gone viral, and Congress leaders and workers expressed their displeasure over it in the media and on social media.

Addressing a press conference, Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) Working President Manjunath Bhandary took a dig at the BJP MLA asking, "How will he enter Parliament? Will he carry a weapon to attack the Leader of the Opposition? Is Shetty a terrorist?" He further said, "I am certain that Bharath Shetty cannot even talk straight to a common worker of the Congress party, let alone confront Rahul Gandhi." 

Mr Bhandary attributed the main cause of BJP leaders' and legislators' outburst at Rahul Gandhi to Prime Minister Narendra Modi referring to the Congress leader as 'balak buddhi' (childish). This term must be expunged, he added.

He said that due to the behaviour of BJP MLAs in Dakshina Kannada district in recent days, "we are ashamed to elect MLAs from the coast". He accused the BJP of plotting riots because they "cannot accept the presence of the Congress government in the state".

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