Ramanuj Mukherjee Creates Voluntary Lawyers Group to Fight COVID Scams

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In an attempt to fight the surging cases of pandemic related scams, Ramanuj Mukherjee, a lawyer turned Edtech entrepreneur initiated a pro-bono legal platform, Lawyers Against COVIFRAUDS for lawyers to come together and check the miscreants taking advantage of the pandemic to cheat hapless patients.

Ramanuj Mukherjee, CEO at LawSikho

Till date, over 100 lawyers from almost every state in India have joined the initiative and started taking legal action against scammers who take advantage of helpless COVID patients and their family members.

With the second wave creating a shortage of oxygen and life-saving medicines, there have been numerous cases of fraudsters promising to deliver hard-to-get medicines, oxygen cylinders and then disappearing with the money. By targeting patients in far-away states, the scammers generally evade the risk of being caught as the police is currently occupied in handling the COVID crisis and don’t have resources to track criminals who are outside their jurisdiction. The victims are often unable to go to the police station in the present situation to lodge a complaint.

Lawyers against COVIFRAUD is solving this problem by identifying the bank account where the money was received and filing police complaints in those jurisdictions with the help of their distributed lawyers network.

Those who have been cheated can approach the members of the group on social media, or email at lawyersagainstcovifraud@lawsikho.in and the volunteers will register police complaints at the appropriate police stations. In case the police dont take action then the matter is escalated to the SP and the Magistrate. All such work is done by enthusiastic law students and lawyers on a pro bono basis.

Ramanuj Mukherjee said, “We cannot make oxygen or build ventilators, but the legal community can help to ease the suffering in some ways. We are trying to do our bit. I am thankful to the generosity of the lawyers across the country who have come together to make this possible. I am also thankful to LawSikho for providing the resources needed for coordination. I hope more lawyers take up this cause and form more independent groups locally.”

Bhavani Prasad Panda, Founding Vice-Chancellor of National Law University, Mumbai and current Director of KIIT Law School in Bhubaneswar, a member of Lawyers Against COVIFRAUD said “Through this project, more and more law students and young lawyers can contribute to the justice system, and progress as learned human beings.”

The group is also working to counter the black marketeering of medicines and oxygen concentrators. After successfully fighting COVID frauds, Mr. Mukherjee promises to mould the initiative into an institution addressing the menace of cybercrime which has been on an exponential rise in recent years.

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