The Hyderabad police arrested four persons, who had started a fake copyright monitoring organisation and allegedly duped over 100 job aspirants to the tune of Rs 3 crore.
According to the police, the accused had started their own fake government department titled 'Vigilance and Enforcement for Indian Copyrights' (VEIC) at Secunderabad, and appointed and 'authorised' several members to serve notices.
The accused were identified as Ch Ratnakar, Aravind Joseph, P Ramesh Reddy and Ch Satyanarayana.
"So far, the accused have cheated about 100 to 120 candidates of Rs 3 crore. In February this year, they set up the VEIC office claiming that they would raid those establishments, which are found selling or manufacturing duplicate products, and inform the copyright authorities. However, they did not follow the rules and regulations," the police release said.
While initially starting of as a private establishment, they soon began claiming that they were a department of the government.
Promising jobs in the department, the accused also took large sums of money from unemployed youth.
"After getting the money, the accused prepared fake appointment letters and handed them over to the candidates. To make them believe it, they also conducted a one-month training programme, before appointing them as junior investigators," the police added.
The Times of India reported that Ratnakar used to take copyrights from distributors of Tollywood movies and sue cable operators who aired movies, without paying royalty to him.
Following this, he used his knowledge of the Copyrights Act and decided to create the fake department, the TOI report adds.
In fact, the scam was so elaborate that the group even set up a Facebook page, and began issuing press releases after the raids that it conducted.
The press releases also found their way to local Telugu newspapers multiple times.
â€śSince 2011, VEIC has been protecting Indian copyrights of some organisations. VEIC has authority to protect copyrights and have govt memos from Telangana and Andhra Pradesh states. If anyone violates the copyright of any organisation, they will be strictly punished, and VEIC will fight against them, and book FIR against them with the police. The police departments of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh are cooperating with us. If any copyright holder wants to protect their copyright, they can contact us,â€ť a message on their Facebook page reads.
Following the raid, the police seized Rs 14.82 lakh, appointment letters, walkie talkies, computers, forms and four cars.