The Bulgarian police have tracked down one of its nationals accused of illegally withdrawing nearly Rs 23 lakh from the accounts of 79 Indians last year, after stealing debit card data from an ATM machine in Colaba .
Hindustan Times accessed the documents sent by the Bulgarian authorities (National Central Bureau — Sofia) via Interpol. They informed the Mumbai crime branch that the local police in the town of Bansko had spotted one of the accused, Ivanov Kalin Ivanoy, 26, travelling in a car.
The crime branch, which had earlier issued a Red Corner Notice (RCN) against Ivanoy and accomplice Tsenev Yulian Georgiev, 27, are yet to initiate talks with Bulgarian authorities with regard to extradition.
RCN allows for an arrest warrant to be circulated worldwide, with the request that a wanted person be arrested, if located abroad, and subsequently extradited.
The two Bulgarian nationals had arrived in India on April 4 last year and had stayed at four different hotels in Colaba, Worli and Santacruz. During their stay, the duo twice fitted skimmer devices and hidden cameras in ATM machines of the Axis Bank kiosk outside the director general of police’s (DGP’s) office in Colaba and later removed them, police said.
After stealing data including PINs, the culprits cloned the cards and fled to Greece on April 19. Two months later, they withdrew Rs 22.88 lakh from the accounts of 79 Indians, 15 of whom were police officers, from 17 different ATMs, including one in the Dominican Republic.
The crime was reported when the bank detected suspicious activity in several accounts. A police probe revealed the duo were part of an international cybercrime syndicate specialising in cloning cards.
In their communique, the Bulgarian authorities have asked their Indian counterparts what further action should be taken.
In response, KMM Prasanna, additional commissioner of police, crime, sought provisional arrest of Ivanoy. His letter to the International Police Co-operation Cell further said that an extradition proposal would be sent once Ivanov is taken into custody and his identity is confirmed.
The duo had been booked last year under relevant sections of IPC and the Information Technology Act.