The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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PC familiarity turns messy
- Computer technician makes off with client’s credit card

The personable young man claimed he was a computer mechanic and would drop by frequently with technical assistance for a man he had befriended. The friend had bought a computer, but was unsure about its workings. The rapport was perfect, until the friend realised that his computer trainer had stolen his credit card. The computer mechanic has been arrested, along with another friend.

Preetam Manna, the computer mechanic, dropped in to visit S.N. Surana (name changed), general manager of a private firm on Park Street, after his computer developed a snag.

Manna impressed Surana as a man well-acquainted with both hardware and software technologies. He claimed he was from a respectable family and planned to visit the US.

Surana, who lives in Golf Gardens, in the Jadavpur police station area, bought a computer for personal use. He invited Manna over to help him operate it. Deputy superintendent of police (town) H. Kabir said the visits started getting more and more frequent. A friendship was struck up, and Surana disclosed a lot about himself, including his banking acumen.

Things turned sour after Surana failed to trace his credit card, which he had kept on his computer table. A thorough search of the house proved futile.

Gradually, he began to suspect Manna. Surana even asked Manna if he had taken the card, but Manna claimed never to have seen it. Then, Manna started avoiding him. The number of visits dwindled. Surana’s suspicions were confirmed by his banker. “I contacted my bank and they confirmed that money had been withdrawn from my credit card account and computer materials bought with it,” Surana said.

Finally, Surana made his way to Jadavpur police station and lodged a complaint against Manna. “Surana said in his complaint that the card was stolen between Durga puja and Kali puja and he suspected Manna,” deputy superintendent Kabir said.

Police raided Manna’s house on Raja Nabakrishna De Street, in north Calcutta, and picked him up. During interrogation, Manna confessed he had purchased computer materials worth Rs 50,000 with Surana’s credit card. The materials he had sold to another friend, he told the police. Later, the friend was also arrested.

“We are interrogating the duo to find the other members of the gang. We think they are part of a gang operating in and around the city,” Kabir said.

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