BHUBANESWAR: Despite repeated awareness drives from banks, people continue to be duped while withdrawing cash from ATM kiosks. The city police on Monday arrested two persons who allegedly hoodwinked customers in ATM kiosks and stole their money by engaging them in a conversation.
The accused Manoj Kumar Sahu (32) of Polasara and Gobardhan Patra (37) of Bhanjanagar are accused of making away with lakhs of rupees from several persons before being caught. According to the police, they would provide unsolicited advice to people inside ATMs and exchange the cards with redundant ones.
“Manoj and Gobardhan used to note of the passwords of the customers while they withdrew cash and later fled with their ATM cards. The accused tricked the customers by exchanging their ATM cards without their knowledge. The duo would then hand them ATM cards which were earlier stolen and subsequently blocked by their rightful owners, said an officer of Laxmisagar police station.
The matter came to light when the accused stole the ATM card of Bhubaneswar-based Kabita Sahu from an ATM kiosk in Jaraka in Jajpur and sent Rs 1.2 lakh from her account to another account held by a native of Sheragada who they had previously duped.
Since Sheragada police was tracking the account, it was alerted and contacted Sahu who reported that her ATM has been stolen too. This led police to zero in on the duo. On being alerted by Sheragada police, Sahu and her husband found out that the accused had stolen Rs 11.13 lakh from their bank account between December 29 and January 2.
Another victim, Prasanna Kumar Mishra of Budheswari Colony, too had lodged a complaint in Laxmisagar police station alleging some miscreants exchanged his ATM card without his knowledge on January 6 and stole Rs 2.24 lakh from his bank account.
“At least 30 cases are registered against Manoj for committing similar offences in various parts of Odisha. Gold ornaments weighing 50 gram, Rs 5.50 lakh cash, 18 stolen ATM cards, mostly of the State Bank of India, and a two-wheeler were seized from them,” said an officer of Laxmisagar police station. Manoj and Gobardhan were staying in city’s Mancheswar and Dumduma areas respectively.