Forgery racket of ATM cards busted, Rs 50 crore at stake

Published: 17th August 2013 08:35 AM  |   Last Updated: 17th August 2013 08:35 AM   |  A+A-

A gang involved in cheating ATM card users in Odisha and outside was busted on Friday with the arrest of nine persons including a lady constable, an advocate and the prime accused in the district. Two laptops, three data cards, 50 sim cards, more than 100 ATM cards of different banks, 16 SBI cheque books, pass books and documents of landed properties were seized from their possession.

Malkangiri SP Akhileswar Singh said there are around 50 members of the gang and two of them had been arrested in May this year from the district.

Fifty cases have been registered against the gang in Malkangiri, Gajapati, Nabarangapur, Koraput, Kendrapara, Cuttack, Balasore, Raygada districts as well as Delhi. The gang members have withdrawn about ` 50 crore from different places so far, added the SP.

The arrested are Haridas Biswas, the mastermind of the gang, his father Harvilas Biswas, mother Subarna Biswas, constable Basanti Biswas (sister), Jayanti Biswas (sister) and advocate Rajesh Patnaik (husband of Basanati). While Rajesh belongs to Malkangiri town, other gang members including Tapas Poddar, Brahmahananda Talukdar and Satyajit Sarkar are from MV-16 village, police sources said.

On a tip-off that Haridas had come to MV-16 village and on the basis of CCTV camera footage provided by Delhi and Baroda police, Malkangiri police raided several places in MV-16 village and arrested the gang, said Balimela IIC Raj Kishore Das while producing them before the media at the district police office here on Friday.

Biswas and the gang members were wanted for their involvement in 150 cases of fraudulent withdrawal in 15 districts of Odisha.

The gang has a network of agents in Gurugaon, Jaipur, Chennai, Banglore, Delhi, Raipur and other places across the country. The gang members used to frequently travel to these places by flights and in 2011-2013 paid ` 50 lakh towards flight tickets, police said.

As per the investigation, the total illegal proceeds of Haridas alone amounted to around ` 1.25 crore including his landed properties and fixed deposits.

Police have received complaints of fraudulent withdrawals of ` 10.55 crore by the gang. The other members of the gand are absconding, added Das.

A native of MV-16 village, Haridas had formed the gang in 2006-2007 when he was working with AGIS company in Delhi with a meagre salary of ` 6,500. While doing a software course in Delhi, he found the loopholes in the software used in preparing ATM cards.

Speaking about the modus operandi of the gang, Das said on the pretext of helping ATM card users, the agents used to enter various ATM counters and obtained their debit card and pin numbers. Later, the agents passed on the details to the email ID of Haridas in lieu of a good amount. After getting the details, Haridas produced proxy ATM-cum-Debit cards with the help of magnetic strip encoder device and used the same for fraudulent withdrawal from various ATMs, Das added.

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