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10 lakh swiped after card swap

Patna, Dec. 30: A trip to the Bihar capital earlier this month cost Samastipur resident Yogender Rai Rs 10 lakh.

Rai had come down to Patna on December 23 and had tried to withdraw money from a State Bank of India’s automatic teller machine (ATM) counter near the Income Tax roundabout. When the machine did not accept his debit card, he approached the guard at the ATM for help. The security man also failed to operate the ATM. Rai left.

When he returned to withdraw money next day, he was in for the shock of his life. When he took out the debit card from his purse, he found it to be of someone else’s. It had been swapped.

Rai rushed to the Sachivalaya branch of the bank, where a bigger shock awaited him: Rs 10 lakh had been transferred from his account to three others, one in Bihar and two in Uttar Pradesh.

An FIR was lodged at the Kotwali police station today, and the police acted swiftly to arrest one Rajnikant, a resident of Bihar Sharif, to whose account Rs 5 lakh was transferred from Rai’s account.

“Rai lost Rs 10 lakh from his account in one day. On December 23, Rai had gone to the kiosk to withdraw money. When the machine refused to accept his card, he asked the guard to help him but in vain. When he returned the next day, he found that his card had been swapped,” said deputy superintendent of police (law and order) Lalit Mohan Sharma.

“His account had Rs 12 lakh. But when he checked the account on December 24, he found that Rs 10 lakh had disappeared from it,” added Sharma.

Incidentally, Rajnikant was at the SBI’s Bihar Sharif branch on December 23 at 11am to make a withdrawal. The bank authorities found that his account, which had only Rs 100, previously, had suddenly inflated to Rs 4.6 lakh.

On being questioned, he related a story similar to that of Rai’s. Rajnikant said he had gone to the Bihar Sharif ATM kiosk but had found that his card was not working.

The next day he found he had a different card and had come down to the bank to enquire. He claimed he was ignorant of how the money had landed up in his account. The bank authorities asked Rajnikant to provide a written explanation.

“What is suspicious is that he was in the bank, trying to withdraw money, on the same day the Rai lost his,” said Sharma.

Incidentally, Rs 40,000 disappeared from Rajnikant’s account the same way. The police said they suspected there was some sort of a cycle in which the money was being transferred. Rs 2.5 lakh each was transferred from Rai’s account to two accounts in Uttar Pradesh.

“There seems to be some sort of a confusing cycle in which the money is disappearing. The matter is under investigation. We are interrogating Rajnikant and the bank employees to find out the truth,” said Sharma.

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