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Upon his return, he discovered that SAR 17,000 had been withdrawn from a citizen’s bank account through his account.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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Agencies
July 15,2024

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The Bharatiya Janata Party will sink like the Titanic if Prime Minister Narendra Modi is left in command, stated firebrand saffron party leader Subramanian Swamy in an X post on Monday.

"If we in BJP want to see our party sink like the Titantic Ship then Modi is the best to command," he said, adding, "By-Election results show BJP is cracking up to sink forever."

Swamy's post comes after the I.N.D.I.A. bloc managed massive gains in the assembly bypolls, whose results were declared on Saturday. The coalition managed to win 10 of the 13 seats, restricting BJP to only two victories. An Independent candidate won the 13th seat.

Among the I.N.D.I.A. bloc, TMC and Congress were the biggest winners, bagging four seats each, while AAP and DMK managed one each. BJP also lost the Badrinath seat in Uttarakhand, in what is seen as a blow by the Congress following the saffron party's loss in Ayodhya in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

Congress sought to project a larger political message in the Badrinath victory saying that Hindutva followers were being electorally bashed up in places of significance to Hindu religion.

Swamy has been railing against BJP top leaders like Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah for some time now. When the Modi government declared June 25 as the 'murder of Constitution day', Swamy remarked on X "What was Mody [Modi] or Amit Shah’s contribution to actively opposing the Emergency?", adding, "Credit snitching is a bad disease."

Recently, he also spoke on the consequences Modi's visit to Russia would have on India-US relations.

After the Lok Sabha polls, which saw Modi return to power for a third term, albeit with diminished margins, and only with help from alliance partners Nitish Kumar and JD(U) and Chandrababu Naidu and TDP, Swamy remarked, "The most devastating outcome of the 2024 Lok Sabha Election Results could be that Modi will find his assembled crowds evaporated before he could say 'namaste'."

"The surprise is that he did not realise that in a democracy no one can take the people for granted," he had concluded.

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News Network
July 15,2024

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The Pakistan government has announced plans to ban the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, led by jailed former Prime Minister Imran Khan, citing alleged anti-state activities.  

The announcement by Information Minister Attaullah Tarar on Monday came days after the Supreme Court handed a major legal victory to the PTI by declaring it eligible for a share of seats reserved in national and provincial assemblies.

The PTI has responded sharply, urging the government to “not shake the foundations of Pakistan and stop playing with the constitution.” Seventy-one-year-old Khan has been behind bars in the high-security Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi, following his arrest on May 9, 2023.

Here’s what has happened so far:

1. What did the Pakistan minister announce?

Information Minister Attaullah Tarar made the announcement at a press conference in Islamabad. He stated that the federal government intends to ban the PTI for its alleged involvement in anti-state activities and to charge Khan and two senior party colleagues with treason. “In view of the foreign funding case, May 9 riots, and the cipher episode as well as the resolution passed in the US, we believe that there is very credible evidence present to have Khan’s party, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), banned,” Tarar said.

He emphasized that Pakistan cannot progress with the PTI’s existence, saying, “Our patience and tolerance are considered as our weaknesses. The PTI and Pakistan cannot co-exist as the government is trying to stabilize the country politically and economically, while efforts are being made to thwart its efforts.” Tarar added that the federal government would petition the Supreme Court to ban the party.

2. How has the PTI responded?

In response to the government’s move, the PTI warned that banning the party could “uproot the foundations of the country.” The party stated on the X platform, “No patriot can think of banning the largest and most popular party of Pakistan, doing so is tantamount to uprooting the foundations of Pakistan and sending the country towards civil war.”

3. Why has the Pakistan government taken this decision?

The government’s decision follows recent relief given to the PTI by the Supreme Court in the case of reserved seats and to Khan in the illegal marriage case. Last week, the Supreme Court declared that Khan’s PTI was eligible for seats reserved for women and minorities in the national and provincial assemblies. If allotted, the PTI would become the largest party in the National Assembly with 109 seats.

Additionally, on Saturday, a district and session court overturned the conviction of Khan and his wife Bushra Bibi in a case related to the violation of the mandatory waiting period for a Muslim woman between two marriages.

4. What steps will the PML-Nawaz-led government take against the SC order?

Tarar announced that the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) led government and its coalition partners plan to file a review appeal against the Supreme Court’s decision granting reserved seats to the PTI. “The apex court gave relief to the PTI which had not even asked for it,” Tarar said.

The government is also taking action against individuals involved in the May 9 events and PTI leaders’ attempts to sabotage Pakistan’s deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Referring to the dissolution of assemblies during the no-confidence motion against Khan in 2022, Tarar indicated plans to move a case against the then-prime minister, then-president Alvi, and then National Assembly deputy speaker Qasim Suri.

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News Network
July 3,2024

Mangaluru, Jul 3: The sixth additional district and sessions court has sentenced five individuals to life imprisonment for the murder of Ismail, a 59-year-old resident of Pavoor under the Konaje police station jurisdiction. Among the convicted is Ismail's wife.

The 2016 incident, driven by an illicit relationship, shocked the local community.

Ismail's wife, Nabeesa (40), was involved in an affair with Jamal Ahmed (38), leading to frequent arguments with her husband. In response to Ismail's objections, Nabeesa devised a plan to have him killed.

The co-conspirators included Abdul Munaf alias Munna (41) and Abdul Rehman (36) from Ullal, and Shabbir (31) from Boliyar, all of whom participated in the murder.

On the evening of February 16, 2016, the accused lured Ismail under the guise of a rental job opportunity and killed him in a remote forest area near Shiradi. They buried his body and abandoned the vehicle to cover up the crime. Nabeesa financed the murder by pawning jewelry and filed a missing person's report to mislead investigators.

Judge Kanta Jaru S V found the accused guilty, sentencing them to life imprisonment with additional fines. The court also imposed rigorous imprisonment terms, underscoring the severity of the crime, and mandated compensation for Ismail's children through the District Legal Services Authority.

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