A passion for gambling turned a 62-year-old man into an alleged criminal, as he allegedly started stealing passbooks of account holders from banks and later withdrawing money by forging signatures. The senior citizen, Ashok Kumar, tasted success last Wednesday when he managed to withdraw ₹10,000 from a nationalized bank using forged signature with ease.
But it was his greed and overconfidence that landed him in police net. He was caught on Thursday when he attempted to withdraw the same amount of money from the same account just a day after the first transaction. The account holder had alerted the bank about the illegal withdrawal the moment he received an alert on his mobile phone about the transaction.
“The bank staff scanned the CCTV cameras footage of the bank and found the elderly man’s activities suspicious. When the suspect visited the bank the next day and submitted his request to withdraw money from the complainant’s account, all that the cashier took was seconds to identify him and alert the local police,” said Nupur Prasad, deputy commissioner of police (Shahdara district).
Six passbooks for different banks, two withdrawal forms, one filled application for issuing ATM card against one of the accounts, and withdrawal receipt of₹10,000 were recovered from the possession of Ashok Kumar, a resident of Mandoli Road, Delhi.
During the interrogation, the DCP said, Kumar revealed that he earlier worked in a printing press but was unemployed for the past few years. Kumar told his interrogators that he allegedly was a habitual gambler but due to financial crunch he was not able to fulfill his habit.
As Kumar did not have a source of earning money, he developed the idea of earning quick bucks through illegal means. Inspired by a cheating modus operandi shown in a popular TV crime show he had recently seen, Kumar hatched the plan of stealing passbooks from banks and withdrawing money from the accounts using forged signatures of the account holders.
Kumar, a senior investigator said, started visiting banks near his residential locality and carefully monitored the functioning of bankers. He soon realised that bankers do not show much attention on signatures whenever any elderly person applies for cash withdrawal.
As he learnt that passbooks contain all details, including signatures of account holders, the elderly man started stealing passbooks of customers visiting the banks. “He then practised imitating signatures of account holders at home.
“Once sure that his forged signature would not be detected, Kumar visited the bank, filled the withdrawal form and withdrew ₹10,000. He was taking advantage of his age to avoid suspicion among bankers,” the officer said.
Though Kumar planned everything carefully, he was unaware that some account holders do get transactions alerts on their mobile phone. The complainant Dharmender Sharma, 41, received a similar alter when ₹10,000 was illegally withdrawn from his account on Wednesday. Sharma’s alert eventually led to Kumar’s arrest.
“Kumar had also applied for issuing ATM card of another customer Devender Kumar Arora, who had ₹8 lakh in his account. His arrest foiled his attempt to withdraw the amount,” police said.