ATM heist: Centre to ask Bulgaria to prosecute accused

  • Vijay Kumar Yadav, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: May 21, 2015 22:35 IST

A Bulgarian national, who cheated at least 79 Indians of Rs 23 lakh in Mumbai in June 2013, will not be extradited to India. Instead, the Union home ministry has decided to ask the Bulgarian government to prosecute the accused, police sources told the Hindustan Times.

Police sources said the ministry of external affairs sent back the request made to them by the CBI’s National Central Bureau (NCB)-India (Interpol) for the provisional arrest of Ivanov Kalin Ivanoy, 26, for extradition to India.

The MEA cited conditions stated under article 1.1 of the extradition treaty between India and Bulgaria that bars the extradition of its own nationals. The MEA, instead, advised NCB-India to re-submit the request to them for provisional arrest of the fugitive for the purpose of local prosecution and not for extradition, a source said.

NCB-India has now asked the Mumbai crime branch to resend the request, this time for provisional arrest of Ivanov for local prosecution.

The police said Ivanov, along with his partner Tsenev Yulian Georgiev, 27, had arrived in India on April 4, 2013 at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport. They allegedly stayed in four hotels in Colaba, Worli and Santacruz. During their stay, the duo fitted skimmer devices and hidden cameras in the ATM machine of an Axis Bank kiosk outside the DGP office in Colaba twice, the police said.

After stealing the data and PIN numbers, the duo fled to their country on April 19, 2014. The police probe revealed the two are part of an international fraud syndicate as the withdrawal of money using cloned cards were done after more than a month’s time. By the time the card owners realised their money had been stolen, the accused had already fled the country. Of the 79 victims who lost Rs 22,88,229, around 15 were policemen, the probe revealed.

Later, the CBI got the Interpol to issue a Red Corner Lookout notice against the two. Last year, the Interpol wing of Bulgaria’s National Central Bureau-Sofia informed its Indian counterparts that Ivanov had been located by the local police in a car in Bansko, Bulgaria. It was then that the process of making a request for provisional arrest was initiated.

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