One of the accused involved in the alleged ATM skimming fraud case in Kerala was arrested from the outskirts of the city in a joint operation of Kerala police and the Mumbai crime branch late on Tuesday night. The arrested accused, a Romanian national, had fled to Mumbai after committing the crime and he has now been taken to Kerala for further investigation.
The accused was identified as Gabriel, who was tracked to Navi Mumbai with the help of some phone calls that were intercepted between Kerala and Navi Mumbai by the local police. After he was tracked down, officers informed the Mumbai crime branch and a team was given to assist them.
Sanjay Saxena, joint commissioner of police (crime), confirmed the development.
“We helped the Kerala police arrest the accused based on the information they provided. It is unclear why he came to Mumbai, however, the group had come here before going to Kerala. If they were planning a similar attempt of committing the fraud here is not known and the Kerala police will look into it,” said a crime branch officer.
Gabriel has been taken to Kerala by the police to interrogate him in the case and help locate his accomplices.
In the Kerala case, as many as 20 people claimed to have lost more than Rs3 lakh in fraudulent transactions in Vellayambalam, Kowdiar and Vattiyurkavu. The local police also recovered a skimmer from an ATM from Althara in Vellayambalam that was embedded to the smoke detector inside the kiosk.
A similar card-skimming fraud had taken place in Mumbai in 2013, in which Bulgarian nationals were involved. The fraudulent transactions that took place in Greece and came to the fore after the victims, mostly policemen, began receiving text messages of withdrawals on June 10, 2013.
At least 37 people lost Rs15.47 lakh, including 15 policemen, who lost around Rs2.21 lakh.