Police bust crowdfunding campaign in Kochi, arrest two

Alleged exploitation of ailing girl’s photo on social media to seek financial help

The Cheranallore police have arrested two women on the charge of an alleged dubious crowdfunding campaign and frozen a bank account in this connection.

The arrested are Mariamma Sebastian, 59, and Anitha T. Joseph, 29, residents of Pala who were living in a rented apartment at Eroor in Ernakulam. A co-accused is on the run.

They are accused of exploiting the picture of an ailing girl to seek help from kind-hearted people. The father of the girl, who is undergoing treatment in a hospital, had sought help through social media with the assistance of a charity worker.

However, on July 7, a doctor known to the girl’s father alerted him that his daughter’s picture was seen in some social media platforms seeking assistance. It emerged that the bank account number, Gpay number, and the contact number of the accused entailed the social media post in an alleged attempt to benefit in the name of medical assistance.

Subsequently, the girl’s father lodged a complaint with the Cheranallore police. It emerged that the accused had withdrawn ₹1 lakh received as assistance in their account.

An investigation team under the supervision of Assistant Commissioner of Police K. Laljy and led by Cheranallore Inspector P. Vipin Kumar made the arrests.

The team comprised Sub Inspector Santhoshmon, Assistant Sub Inspector Shukoor V.A., senior civil police officers Sigosh, Paul, Elvee, and Sheeba, and civil police officers Prashanth Babu, Priya, Jini, and Jancy

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