Bengaluru, May 16: With Cyclone Tauktae wreaking havoc in the coastal and surrounding malnad districts of Karnataka, a total of four deaths have been reported in the state so far, officials said on Sunday.

According to a situation report by Karnataka State Disaster Management Authority officials, till this evening, 98 villages, 20 taluks in seven districts of Dakshina Kannada, Udupi, Uttara Kannada, Kodagu, Shivamogga, Chikkamagaluru and Hassan have been affected by the cyclone so far.

Among the 98 villages affected, a maximum of 31 are from Uttara Kannada district.

Of the four deaths reported so far, one each are from Uttara Kannada, Udupi, Chikkamagaluru and Shivamogga, officials said.

While one fisherman who went to tie his boat died in Uttara Kannada as he got hit by another boat, a person died in Udupi due to electric mishap, they said, adding that one death each were reported in Chikkamagaluru and Shivamogga due house collapse and lightning respectively.

A total of 516 people have been evacuated so far, as per the situation report, and 253 people are currently taking shelter in the 10 relief camps that have been opened.

Damages to a total of 216 houses, 491 poles, 27 transformers, 3,000 meters of lines have been reported so far, it added.

Meanwhile Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa today asked in-charge Ministers of coastal districts and Deputy Commissioners (DCs) there to visit affected areas and carry out rescue and relief works.

Yediyurappa called Ministers incharge of coastal districts and DCs and took stock of the situation there, his office said in a statement.

He has directed the officials to call the Ministers concerned or him directly if in need of any emergency assistance from the government.

According to a tweet in the evening by the CMO, the Chief Minister once again spoke to three DCs and the Chief Secretary in the evening and directed the Dakshina Kannada DC to take necessary measures to rescue the crew of a tug boat that is caught in the sea.

He also directed the Chief Secretary to stay in touch with the Centre for the rescue of crew, and make all the necessary arrangements, including chopper if required.

A tugboat named Coromandel has nine crew members, sources said.

According to Karnataka State Natural Disaster Monitoring Centre, due to very severe cyclonic storm from 08:30 am to till 07:30 pm rainfall was observed over parts of the state.

Widespread moderate to heavy rains were observed over Uttara Kannada, Belagavi and Udupi districts.

The officials said as the system is moving further north, towards Maharashtra coast, the impact of cyclone will likely to come down from tomorrow over the State.

India Meteorological Department (IMD) has forecast that rain or thundershowers are very likely to occur at most places over coastal and South Interior Karnataka and at many places over North Interior Karnataka.

Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai has said around 1,000 trained personnel from fire force, police, coastal police, home guards, SDRF have been deployed in the three coastal districts and they will work with coordination in rescue and relief operations, also NDRF teams have also been roped in.

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Bengaluru, Jun 12: Karnataka police on Saturday said they have busted a Rs 290 crore plus scam that involved duping people through a mobile app after promising attractive interest on investment and two Chinese nationals were among the nine arrested.

The scam, aided by shell companies, is linked to money laundering and the suspected kingpin is a Kerala based business man with proximity to Chinese 'hawala' operators, they said.

Cyber Crime Division of CID said it has arrested accused persons, including two Chinese nationals, two Tibetans and five others acting as directors of the companies involved, and a search is on for the rest.

A complaint from Razor pay Software Private Limited said accused persons availed 'payment solutions' from them, claiming that they are in gaming, social and e-commerce businesses.

They, however, defrauded the company by using computer resources and by deviating from their original, registered line of business, the plaint said.

They started routing their transactions to collect payments from a different business named "Powerbank", an app listed in Google Playstore, cyber police said in a release.

Through customer complaints, the complainant company got to know that public invested money in the "Powerbank" app to earn interest on the invested amount.

The accused persons, after accepting the investments, neither gave the agreed interest nor the principal amount and cheated customers.

A case was registered under the Information Technology Act and 420 IPC (Cheating), the CCD said and added that the investigating team were successful in arresting nine men.

During investigation, it was found that Anas Ahmed, a Kerala based businessman, is the main person involved.

"We have also identified that he has very proximate connections with the Chinese hawala operators, which has come to light during the course of the investigation.

He had opened shell companies in the name of Bull Finch Technologies, H & S ventures and Clifford ventures to route the fraud money. Anas Ahamed is married to Chinese national and incidentally he did his studies in China," police said in the release.

Online applications hosted by him were later camouflaged and converted into different apps including Power Bank application, seeking investment from the public and promising good returns, the CCD said.

An unusual spike was seen in investments on the day Anees Ahmed announced much higher returns.

Subsequently, such apps were removed from Google Playstore and other websites and he absconded with the money.

Investigation showed Rs 290 crore inflow into his bank accounts and the CCD was successful in freezing a significant portion of it. There was a huge spike in opening of shell companies since November 2020.

"We have also observed that the Chinese handlers are in possession of a huge number of shell companies and bank accounts. Lured by the offer of the Chinese nationals, many innocent Indians and Tibetans have fallen in their trap to open shell companies and open bank accounts for them."