Saturday, February 14, 2009

ATM fraud cheque-mated - DNA-12 Feb 09

Mumbai: If you thought depositing a cheque drawn in your favour with the pay-in slip and dropping it off in the box in the ATM kiosk would ensure the amount is credited to your account, think again.

A gang of six people, including a woman, operated various bank accounts and tampered with cheques put in drop boxes to pilfer money. Tardeo police on February 2 busted the gang for their alleged involvement in stealing cheques by breaking drop boxes of various banks. The names, signatures and amounts on the cheques were tampered with, before being deposited in bank accounts operated by the gang members under assumed names matching those on the cheques.

During interrogation, the gang revealed they had been active for two years, operating in Nagpada, Versova, Kurla and APMC Market, Navi Mumbai.

Lata Pai, 53, manager of the Tardeo branch of Union Bank of India, lodged a complaint with the local police station on January 12, stating that cheques were stolen from the bank's drop box, tampered with and used to withdraw Rs7.63 lakh in cash.

Pai updated the cops daily on which cheque was likely to be realised that day. The police also received information from other banks, and assistant police inspector Manohar Dhanawade laid a trap outside Abhyudaya Bank's Sewri branch, nabbing Mohsin, Pillai and Shahjan. Three other members, including the leader, were arrested later.

"Those arrested are Nikhil alias Sagar Shah, 37, the leader;Mohsin Sheikh, 24;Ajay Pillai, 23; Shahjan Sheikh, 24; Rajesh Harish Bhat alias Shantilal Solanki, 48, and Smita Mohit Shah alias Malini Shantaram Chavan, for forgery, cheating, burglary and theft," said senior inspector Vilas Joshi of Tardeo police. The cops recovered Rs1.2 lakh in cash, and ATM cards of various banks from them.

By Dayanand Kamath

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