The police on Monday arrested three men for illegally withdrawing money from the ATM accounts of 44 persons.
The trio, who ran an English-speaking institute, had used a unique modus operandi for the transactions. “They pressed a number on the ATM keypad, and applied quick-fix on it because of which it remained stuck in the position. So, when someone tried to withdraw cash, they were unable to do so, as one number was already punched in,” said Ashok Chand, DCP (crime).
“Then one of the accused would enter the ATM booth on the pretext of helping the cardholder. He would see him feeding in the pin code, and later, after freeing the tampered button, would withdraw cash from the account,” Chand added.
The accused have been identified as Lalit Kumar, Leader Khan alias Sahil, and Ranjeet Sahni, who is an MCA student.
An imported bike costing nearly Rs 3 lakh has been recovered from them, which they bought from the stolen amount.Police said the trio mainly targeted unmanned ATM booths. The matter came to light after Prizm Payment Services Private Limited, which provides electronic payment related services to various banks in India, filed a complaint with the crime branch of Delhi Police on September 24.
“Over the past few months, they were receiving complaints from their customers about illegal withdrawal of money from their accounts through ATMs. As per the version of the card holders, the keypad (where the PIN code is entered) was found stuck before such disputed withdrawals took place,” Chand added.
Police said that since most of the cases were reported from south and southeast Delhi, surveillance was maintained on ATMs, which were frequently used by the culprits.
He learned the ropes from his cheater
The interrogation of of Lalit Kumar, main accused in the ATM fraud, has revealed the existence of other similar gangs active in the city.
Kumar told the police that he was cheated of his money in a similar manner in June this year. He managed to catch the accused and learn the modus operandi from him.
“In June, Kumar had gone to an ATM at Khanpur to withdraw money and found the hash (#) button stuck. He made several attempts to withdraw money but could not complete the transaction. A boy was observing him during this time and after he came out, that boy withdrew money from his account after manipulating the ATM keypad,” said Ashok Chand, DCP (crime). But Kumar got an SMS on his mobile phone regarding withdrawal of money.
“He apprehended the boy, took the money and also learnt the procedure for manipulating the ATM. We are trying to identify that boy. This suggests that
other such gangs are active in the city,” said a senior officer of crime branch. Soon after this incident, Kumar made his first attempt and succeeded in withdrawing an amount of Rs 10,000.
“Till now they have withdrawn nearly Rs 4.5 lakh from 44 transactions in 11 ATMs,” the officer added.