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Two more arrested in Cosmos cyber fraud case

Jyoti Priya Singh, deputy commissioner of police (economic offences wing and cyber cell), said that those arrested are running small-time business.

pune Updated: Sep 14, 2018 17:00 IST
Nadeem Inamdar
Nadeem Inamdar
Hindustan Times, Pune
Cosmos Bank,Cyber crime,cyber fraud
The accused were caught withdrawing money from ATMs using cloned Cosmos Bank cards on August 11. Police suspect an international ring behind the case. (HT FILE PHOTO)

Pune: The special investigation team (SIT) probing the Rs 94.42-crore Cosmos Bank cyber fraud case has apprehended two more persons, taking the total number of arrest to four.

The police have identified those arrested on Thursday as Shaikh Mohammad Abdul Jabbar (28), a resident living near Ayesha masjid in Mirza colony in Sillod (Aurangabad) and Mahesh Sahebrao Rathod (22), a resident of Dhawari Tanda in Bhokar tehsil of Nanded.

According to the police officials, the duo was arrested in connection with withdrawal of cash from different ATMs using cloned debit cards of Cosmos Bank, one of the largest cooperative banks in the country. They were produced before the court, which remanded them to police custody till September 18.

Jyoti Priya Singh, deputy commissioner of police (economic offences wing and cyber cell), said that those arrested are running small-time business.

“They have been arrested in connection with the withdrawal of Cosmos Bank money from ATMs using cloned cards. We have booked them under relevant sections of the IPC and investigation is on. They were into petty businesses like catering and providing services using e-commerce. We are probing to find out their links to other accused in the case,” said Singh.

The SIT on Tuesday had achieved a major breakthrough when it made the first arrest of two persons identified as Faheem Mehfuz Shaikh (27), a resident of Noorani Complex in Bhiwandi and Fahim Azim Khan (30), a resident of Sillod in Aurangabad, in connection with the online theft. The other accused who are yet to be arrested have been identified as Kunal Shukla, Abdul Bhai, Ali alias Mohammad Saeed, Naresh Maharana and Anthony.

Shaikh and Khan withdrew Rs 89.47 lakh from ATMs using cloned Cosmos Bank cards on August 11. They were identified from CCTV footage obtained from Kolhapur and police suspect an international ring behind the case. The duo was produced before judicial magistrate first class at Shivajinagar, which remanded them to seven days police custody.

“Further investigation into the case has revealed that criminals from 28 nations had participated in the fraud , the planning for which has been going on for a year. There is only one person who has stolen the data and it is he who had handed over the data details to the data cloners. The arrested accused had been promised lump sum commission over the cash withdrawn from various ATMs by them. Besides them, they are many others who had withdrawn cash and handed over the money to the syndicate for a small commission amount. All this is leading to the expanse of investigation pan India to nab the accused and unearth the conspiracy. Each person was given between 10-15 clones cards and promised a commission between Rs 15,000 and Rs 30,000,” said DCP Singh.

As many as 12,000 transactions worth Rs 78 crore and 2,849 transactions worth Rs 2.50 crores through Rupay Debit cards and 3 transactions worth Rs 13.92 crore totally estimated to be worth Rs 94.42 crore were done during the fraud. It was on August 14 that Cosmos Bank publicly revealed the theft of Rs 94.42 crore from the pool account by a multinational hacking ring on August 11 and August 13.

In the first hit, the bank lost an aggregate of Rs 80.50 crore in multiple ATM swipes in 28 countries, while in the second cyber assault, the hackers siphoned off Rs 13.92 crore via Swift transfers.

An FIR was lodged against unidentified persons by the bank’s managing director Suhas Subhash Gokhale (53) under Indian Penal Code (IPC) Sections 379 (theft), 420 (cheating),120 (B) (conspiracy) and 34 and Sections 43,65,66 (C) and 66 (D) of the Information Technology Act at Chatuhshrungi police station.

First Published: Sep 14, 2018 16:59 IST