News Flash – 4 December 2019

National News



Two Iranians Pose as Cops to Rob Tourists Near Airport

Posing as Crime Branch officers, the gang would ‘detain’ tourists and take them to an isolated spot for ‘investigation’.



New Delhi: Two Iranians were arrested for posing as police officers and robbing tourists near the airport. Their two Indian accomplices have also been arrested. The criminals were found involved in 14 cases over the past six months. Posing as Crime Branch officers, the gang would zero in on a target, “detain” the tourist and take him to an isolated spot for “investigation”. The Iranians have been identified as Nasir Salim (35) and Nasir Sayah (51), while their associates are Akbar (24) from Laxmi Nagar in east Delhi and Jafar Saifullah (35) from Thane, Maharashtra. “Two country-made pistols, live cartridges, 10 mobile phones, two motorcycles, forged ID cards, police uniforms and foreign and Indian currency were seized from them,” said DCP (Southwest) Devender Arya.



Arya said a special team was formed to patrol Delhi Cantonment and stretches leading to the airport because of a spurt in cases of cheating and robbery of foreign nationals. “After analysing the crime trend and modus operandi used by the suspects, hotspots were identified and cops in plainclothes deployed there. CCTV footage of the areas where the gang had struck led to identification of the suspects and their bikes,” he added. To bust the gang, cops dressed up as tourists and kept a close watch on the suspects from the CCTV control room. Finally, the gang members were spotted on their motorcycles near a bus stop in front of Mehram Nagar Police Colony and nabbed. Akbar used to manage accommodation, vehicles and other facilities for his associates. He had been in the business since 2015. Saifullah had been cheating people with this modus operando since 2010. He used to earlier commit similar crimes in Gujarat.



2 Men who Tampered with ATM’s to Steal Cash Arrested


Shahajahad & Shahid



Bengaluru: Two men from Haryana, who specialised in allegedly shortchanging banks by tampering with the power supply to Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) while drawing money, have been arrested. Yeshwantpur police are interrogating Shahajahad, 28, and Shahid 23, of Nuh in Haryana to know the extent of their criminal activities. They are suspected to have played the fraud at ATMs in several major cities of the country. “We suspect the accused have cheated banks of around Rs 25 lakh or more. Two more suspects are at large and we will nab them soon,” said N Shashikumar DCP (north). Police have recovered about 25 debit cards from the duo. The accused obtained the cards by opening accounts in the names of their friends and relatives. They led a lavish life and flew regularly in and out of metros, where they committed the crime, police said. Shashikumar said the accused would target ATM kiosks with no security guards. One of the accused would walk in first and tilt or disable the CCTV camera, after which the others would step in. The fraudsters would insert the debit card in the ATM and opt for cash withdrawal.



“They would opt for sums like Rs20,000 or Rs30,000. When cash is ready for delivery, the ATM produces a beep for a few seconds, during which the machine counts the notes. Exactly at that time, one of the accused would disconnect the power supply to ATM, while another would grab the currency emerging from the machine,” police said. With power disconnected at the time of cash disposal, many machines would fail to identify the transaction, police said. If the cash deduction got recorded, the accused would call the particular bank, claiming the transaction failed in the last moment. “Banks would hold an investigation, which would yield little result. Adhering to RBI guidelines, which stipulate such customers be immediately compensated, the banks would deposit the cash into the accounts concerned,” investigating officials said. However, a Delhi-based firm that maintains ATMs grew suspicious after a few bank managers informed it that every time such a suspicious transaction was reported, the CCTV cameras would either be damaged or turned in another direction. “Such transactions had recently taken place in Yeshwantpur and based on the complaint filed by the firm, we initiated probe and cracked the case,” police said.



ATM Skimming Fraud Grows, Plaints Cross Half-Century Mark


Kolkata: The ATM skimming fraud uncovered on Monday was just the tip of the iceberg, it seems. A day later, all basic parameters related to the case shot up: the number of complaints, the number of affected ATMs, and even the geographical spread of the victims. On Tuesday, even as the number of complaints increased to 59 from 22, police and bank officials found one more ATM that the fraudsters had used to rob customers. Even the victims are now spread across a much larger area of south Kolkata, from a relatively narrower stretch on Monday. But there’s also a glimmer of relief. The police have been able to extract clear CCTV footage of at least three of the accused from a couple of ATMs in south and east Delhi, from which the money was withdrawn. One image, said sources, shows a fair-skinned man with light eyes. The investigators suspect he is of Romanian, Turkish or Bulgarian origin. A detective department team is in Delhi, working closely with local cops to collect evidence. “We have some positive leads on their whereabouts in the capital. We are hoping for a breakthrough soon,” said a source. “We have the timings of the withdrawals and will start matching more footage soon. Several officials of the firm servicing the ATMs of the two banks have also been asked to join the investigations in Delhi,” an officer said.



Tuesday’s probe showed that apart from an ATM of Punjab National Bank at the Sulekha crossing that was compromised, another ATM of the same bank was compromised at Tollugunge Circular Road, close to Tollygunge Phanri. At least 44 people had withdrawn money between April 4 and April 22 (during which the skimmers are believed to have been set up there) from the Sulekha ATM, and at least 13 from the Tollygune Phanri ATM. The numbers will most probably rise, said a source. The 57 complainants — who had used these two ATMs — are customers of several banks, including United Bank of India, Kotak Mahindra and HDFC Bank. On Monday, most of the victims were confined to the Jadavpur belt. The day after, two more cases were reported from Karaya and Netaji Nagar each. The victims now hail from several places, including Ramgarh, Jadavpur, Baghajatin, Tollygunge, Karaya and Netaji Nagar, encompassing a vast part of south Kolkata. The cops have drawn up two master FIRs to deal with the increasing footprint one at Charu Market and the other at Jadavpur. “The withdrawals took place between November 28 and December 3,” said Murlidhar Sharma, the joint CP (crime). “We received a formal complaint from the bank at Charu Market police station about two days ago. The withdrawals are thus at least four days old in these cases. At Jadavpur, there were two specific withdrawals even on Tuesday. We have asked banks to submit complaints on their end so that customers can get back their money easily”.



Sharma appealed to the public to register complaints either at the local police station or the detective department’s antifraud section or the cyber cell. “People can use this FIR or general diary to contact the bank and reclaim the money,” he said. The police team in Delhi is being assisted by cyber and banking experts. “We are relying on their expertise,” an officer said. The police have also moved a special prayer to question the eight Romanians lodged at Presidency Correctional Home. The cops have also got in touch with Tripura police to access data saved in the laptops of the two Turkish nationals arrested from Belghoria for being part of a skimming gang. The cyber cell of Delhi Police confirmed receiving tip-offs about the skimming fraud, and officials said they were “already on the job after receiving a letter from Kolkata Police”. A senior cop said it was possible that members of the Romanian gang — the few who managed to escape to Nepal — might have found new willing partners to run the gang. Local gangs from Jharkhand and Maharashtra might have also used the dark web to sell data to these foreign gangs. Both the affected ATMs were unguarded, pointed out officers. “We have asked each bank to carry out a security audit of all ATMs and submit a report if they find any criminal offence has been carried out there. We have asked banks to beef up security, including installing anti-skimming devices, as mandated by RBI,” said the joint CP.

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