Nagpur: Pratap Nagar police have succeeded in tracing one of the gang of fraudsters involved in targeting ATMs and stealing cash in lakhs in hi-tech manner. A team of police tracked and nabbed the accused at Kanpur and seized ATM cards and cash from him. Cops have come to know that all the members of the tech-savvy gang hailed from Kanpur and mounted a hunt to nab them.
It is pertinent to recall that the gang of hi-tech fraudsters had become active and had struck 40 ATMs of different nationalised banks including State Bank of India. The gang the ATMs in the Second Capital City of Nagpur. The fraudsters pilfered around Rs 60 lakh with much ease and without a trace as well. The mind-boggling part of this robbery was that even though the money was being reduced from the accounts of the banks the accounts of customers are untouched. Their modus operandi had left the bankers as well as the cops baffled. The hi-tech loot came to the fore when a complaint was lodged with Rana Pratap Nagar Police Station stating that Rs 7.25 lakh were withdrawn by some tricksters from State Bank of India’s ATM situated at Mangalmurti Square in Trimurti Nagar. Complainant Narendra Dhote, Regional Manager, Electronic Payment and Services Company Limited, a payment system company, told the police that Rs7.25 lakh were withdrawn from the ATM between July 9 and August 3,without leaving any trace of transaction, raising a serious question mark over security of ATMs from such techno-savvy fraudsters. Earlier also, between July 22 and 28, two ATMs in Pratap Nagar police jurisdiction were targeted and lakhs of rupees were withdrawn fraudulently.
The modus operandi of the gang of fraudsters is that they first swipe the debit card and switch off the power supply before the transaction slip comes out while the cash is dispensed by the ATM machine. The gang then used to open up top cover of the ATM to switch off the machine. This way, the bank software couldn’t register the transaction, considering it a system failure. The fraudsters seemed to have repeated the modus operandi at different ATMs to get richer by lakhs with ease but without a trace. The timing used by the gang to target an ATM is between 6 am and 8 am. There may be two or three gangs which are committing the fraud since many months. Despite duping the banks to the tune of lakhs, the fraud never got detected and the records didn’t show the money was withdrawn.
Acting on the complaint of Dhote, Pratapnagar cops scanned the CCTV footages at the ATMs and found involvement of a gang of 5-6 youths in the thefts. The cops also dug out information from the banks regarding ATM cards used in the hi-tech stealing. The cops were told by the banks that all the card holders hailed from Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh. Subsequently, a team of Pratapnagar cops led by API Sachin Shirke was formed and sent to Kanpur. Following the leads, the team managed to nab one of the gang members named Niraj Ujagarsingh Yadav (27), resident of Yadav Nagar, Ahirva Chakeri, Kanpur. Cops recovered two ATM cards used in the fraud, three other ATM cards and cash of Rs 38,000 from the accused Niraj. He was brought to Nagpur and his police custody remand was obtained.
The gang enjoyed a lavish life with the pilfered money and spent on costly liquor, staying in high-end hotels, travelling in flights and other enjoyable moments.
The team of Pratapnagar police comprised API Sachin Shirke, constables Abhishek Hardas, Anand Yadav, Dharmendra Yadav, Atul Talmale. The task was carried out under the guidance of DCP Zone 1 Smartna Patil and Senior PI Shivaji Gaekwad.