Nuh shoot-out: Man held for looting ₹14 crore from 200 ATMs in eight states
The Nuh police arrested a 40-year-old wanted man on Friday night after a shoot-out near Malabh Polytechnic, the police said. He was allegedly involved in more than 200 incidents of ATM thefts in eight states across the country.
According to the police, the suspect, identified as Farookh of Wazidpur in Nuh, was wanted has allegedly looted more than ₹14 crore in the last 10 years. He, along with his associates, used to uproot ATMs from kiosks, said police.
Narender Bijarnia, the superintendent of police, Nuh, said they received a tip-off about the suspect’s movement — that he would be going towards Malabh Polytechnic to meet his associates. “We deployed a crime investigation unit (CIA) team in the area and placed barricades near the college. He and his close aide, Sahid, were on their motorbike, when they saw the police and tried to take a turn in the fields. Sahid got down and ran into the fields, taking advantage of the dark, while Farookh fired four rounds at the police. One bullet hit the police vehicle,” he said.
In retaliatory firing by the police, a bullet hit his right leg and he fell, the police said.
Bijarnia said he was rushed to a hospital and is undergoing treatment. “During questioning, he confessed to his involvement in more than 200 incidents, in which he and his associates uprooted ATMs from eight states across the country. He allegedly stole more than ₹14 crore in the last 10 years and revealed the modus operandi of his gang,” he said.
According to the police, the suspect had formed a gang to loot ATMs 10 years ago and has been arrested several times. Farookh has allegedly travelled to Gujarat, Orissa, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.
Nuh police on Saturday wrote to the officials concerned in the eight states and compiled data of the incidents reported in their cities. “There are 20 members in his gang, of whom 14 have been identified. He had formed this gang in 2010 and started operating from Haryana. He had uprooted an ATM for the first time from a Gurugram kiosk on June 27, 2010,” said Bijarnia.
The police said he used to travel in flights to different states, to conduct reconnaissance of the area before uprooting the ATM kiosks.
The police said there are 50 gangs operating out of Nuh involved in blowing up and uprooting ATMs, of which at least 45 have been arrested several times. Initially, there were only three gangs but they split due to altercations over dividing the loot and set up their own gangs, and demarcated target areas, the police said.
During his crime spree, 350 ATMs were targeted, with some ATMs blown up using powerful explosives while others being dragged away by stolen cars and cut with the help of gas cutters.
Bijarnia said the suspect was inspired by a Bollywood movie and planned to form a gang to put his plans into action. “Farookh used to target a city, based on crime stories in the newspaper. He used to visit a city and spend a week keeping a close watch on the ATM kiosks and how often it was loaded with the money. Once the plan was finalised, three to four gang members visited that city and planned the execution. Later, other gang members used to reach the city in different vehicles, which they used for the operation, “ he said.
The police said that the gang used to target ATMs on the first night after the money was loaded in the machines. Gang members used to be deployed at both ends of the road to keep a check on the police movement.