The journalist met the accused during a bus journey. The man said his daughter had blood cancer and he had no money for her treatment
In a bizarre incident, a man duped a journo into raising money for a purportedly 'ill' girl. The journalist had met the man during a bus journey, and on hearing the story of the fellow traveller, the scribe raised ₹3 lakh through a social media campaign.
Arun B L Koliyoor, a journalist with a Malayalam television met Salim while travelling from Pathanamthitta to Thiruvananthapuram on April 17. He introduced himself as Jose from Kundara in Kollam.
"He was attending crying over the phone about the illness of his daughter. He was talking to his friends and relatives and was saying that his family has no way other than suicide if his daughter did not recover. Then I queried about his issue, and he said that his 14-year-old daughter had blood cancer and was undergoing treatment at Vellore Hospital," Koliyoor said.
Jose also told the scribe that the girl lost her vision after a surgery and was in the ICU. "The man was seeking financial help, from all those who called, for the treatment of his daughter. The man also showed some documents of treatment, which police later found to be fake," the journo said.
Koliyoor gave some money to the man and on the same day started a Facebook campaign. But, by afternoon next day, phone of Jose was switched off. The journalist along with his friends managed to collect the details of the man from the phone number and later realised that he was cheating.
The journalist filed a police complaint, and police investigation revealed that the actual name of the man was Salim and not Jose and that he is absconding and there were pending cases of cheating against him and that he has no daughter.
Following this, the journo put another post requesting his friends not to deposit any money in the account. By the time ₹3 lakh was already credited in the account, and the accused had withdrawn ₹30,000.
The police have now frozen the account which is in the name of a woman who is the live-in partner of Salim. Police took the woman into custody.
"She said she don't know the whereabouts of Salim, but we assume that she is lying. There are around five cheating cases against Salim in Ezhukone and Kollam police stations," sub-inspector Abdul Manaf said.