The Kandivli police arrested two people, who created bogus savings accounts in several banks and stole cheques from ATM drop boxes and encashed them by removing the bearer’s name and replacing the account number with theirs.
Harish Chaudhary (25) and Bhagtaram Chaudhary (32), both residents of Bhayandar, were arrested on Thursday. Harish had earlier been arrested in a house break in case, police said. The mastermind of the crime is still absconding.
The manager of HDFC bank, located on SV Road in Kandivli (W), lodged a complaint on July 15, after he discovered that the cheque drop box at one of their ATMs had been broken and several cheques missing.
Acting on this complaint, and a tip off, the police laid a trap and arrested the duo from Thakkar Mall in Borivli (W).
The duo had gone there to shop using the money they had swindled, said the police.
Additional Commissioner of Police, Musa Shaikh (Malwani division) said, “The duo would steal electricity or telephone bills and used them to obtain a PAN card. They used this as an identity proof and opened bogus accounts with several banks.”
The men were caught breaking the cheque drop box at the HDFC bank ATM.
So far the amount swindled by the duo is Rs 4 lakh. However, the police suspect the sum could be around Rs 30 lakh. Surprisingly, though the cheques had been cancelled, the banks had cleared the amount and hence the police are not ruling out the possibility of some of the bank employees being involved in the crime.
Police said the duo had opened bogus accounts with several banks including Axis, Bank of Baroda, Saraswat, Dhanlaxmi and Bank of India.