BHOPAL: Police in this city were startled to discover that the criminal who carried out a Rs 13.15 lakh theft from an ICICI Bank ATM last week was not a professional but one of their own. A police constable and his friend have been arrested for the sensational heist on the night of September 22-23.
Pan Singh Gautam (22), a constable of the 14th battalion of the Special Armed Force (SAF), and Surjit Singh Pavaiya (23), an employee of an ATM cash refilling company, were childhood friends from Bhind district, said deputy inspector-general (DIG Bhopal) Santosh Kumar Singh on Wednesday. They studied together till class VII in Bhind.
When they met up again a few months ago in Bhopal, Pavaiya told Gautam that he worked for a company that refills cash in bank ATMs. That gave the SAF constable an idea. Back in June, Pavaiya had just then switched jobs from one cash management company to another. But he remembered the secret password of the ICICI Bank ATM located at Piplani in Bhopal, the DIG said.
The two men then decided to steal the cash from the ATM. Pavaiya trained the constable in the layout of ATMs over several weeks.
Pan Singh Gautam first tried to steal from the ATM at around 11.30 pm on September 22, but when he entered the secret password in the ATM, the security hooter went off. But as loud music was playing at a Durga Puja pandal, Pavaiya managed to flee unnoticed.
The duo returned to the same ATM around half an hour later. This time Pavaiya took up the task of committing the theft himself, and Gautam waited a short distance away. Pavaiya first disconnected the security hooter, then entered the ATM and turned off the lights to ensure that his visuals wouldn’t be captured by the CCTV camera at the unguarded ATM.
Subsequently, he typed in the password ad swiped Rs 13.15 lakh from the cash tray. The password had not been changed by the bank.
Police have also recovered Rs 13.09 lakh out of the Rs 13.15 lakh stolen cash.