City police on Friday arrested one Rajnish Dutta, who allegedly duped five young photographers from the city of over Rs 6 lakh with promises of giving them photography jobs in the National Geographic magazine. Dutta was apprehended from Majuli on Friday after having evaded arrest since February.
"Latasil Police registered a case against Dutta in February. However, he was absconding. Recently, he was seen on TV during Holi celebrations at Majuli. Immediately, he was tracked down to a resort in the island and nabbed there on Friday," city police sources said.
Police suspect that Dutta is part of an international racket and would like to seek his custody for further interrogation.
Describing how Dutta swindled the photography enthusiasts, Indrajit Das, one of the five youths, told TOI, "Dutta, introducing himself as a photographer from National Geographic magazine, asked us to join the team for some interesting assignments. He took around Rs 1.1 lakh from each of us in the name of a photography training programme to be held in Bhutan and for other arrangements like international driving licence and other documents."
The youths began to suspect that they had been duped when one of them decided to contact National Geographic, seeking details of their training programme. "National Geographic authorities told us that there was no such assignment and no such hiring had taken place either. We contacted police immediately, but Dutta had left without a trace by then," added Das.
The four other youths who fell victim to the scam have been identified as Priyanku Chaudhury, Aditya Barnwal, Banajyoti Mali and Kulajit Dutta.
According to police sources, Dutta has already confessed to the crime. They said Dutta has revealed that he is part of a gang of frauds based in New Delhi and Mumbai who have international contacts and run such fraudulent rackets. Details of some international bank accounts have also surfaced in the initial probe.
"They target ambitious youths looking for their dream job and then start luring them with such opportunities. They create fake websites and email ids too to look real for their targets," a police source said.