ATM gangs learn from online videos and searches

Muzaffarpur arrests blow lid off well-oiled network spread across state

By Ramashankar in Patna
  • Published 19.11.18, 12:13 AM
  • Updated 19.11.18, 9:09 AM
  • 2 mins read
  •  
A 23-year-old named Pankaj Sahni, who was arrested on July 23 last year, had allegedly opened an institute to train educated unemployed youths in the craft of targeting ATMs and bank customers. (Shutterstock)

The Muzaffarpur police have arrested eight persons and claimed to have unearthed an interstate gang that used to dupe people of their money through ATMs.

During investigation it came to the fore that the members were imparted training to target the ATMs and the gullible bank customers.

A 23-year-old named Pankaj Sahni, who was arrested on July 23 last year, had allegedly opened an institute to train educated unemployed youths in the craft of targeting ATMs and bank customers.

The training “material” was the world wide web: Google searches, and YouTube videos on how to change the ATM card at kiosks, swipe the cards and at times clone the cards to dupe the people.

A senior police officer revealed that Pankaj had earlier admitted to have imparted training to over 100 youths. Pankaj, a BSc student of a noted college in Muzaffarpur, was recently released on bail and is learnt to have reassumed his “coaching” job.

On Saturday night, a police team came across three youths during night patrolling on Shukla road in the district headquarters town.

The trio confessed to the police that they had assembled to target an ATM located at Pakkisarai Chowk under the jurisdiction of Mithanpura police station in Muzaffarpur, around 80km north of Patna.

Over a dozen ATM cards and a sports utility vehicle were seized from them.

Muzaffarpur town police station house officer (SHO) Dhananjay Kumar said on Sunday that five more persons were arrested on the basis of the statement of the three nabbed earlier, including the alleged gang kingpin, Akash Kumar, a native of Vaishali district.

The gang had spread its network in Vaishali, Saran and East Champaran districts, police said.

“The links of the arrested fraudsters with the gang led by Pankaj Sahni are being verified,” SHO Dhananjay said. “Their further interrogation will throw more light on the activities of the gang. Most of the members of the gang are in the age group of 20 to 25 years, well-educated and have undergone training to dupe the gullible bank customers.”

Police teams led by Muzaffarpur city superintendent of police Rakesh Kumar carried out raids in the town and neighbouring districts to nab other members of the gang.

Gangs at large

In the past couple of months, over Rs 50 lakh had been stolen from different ATMs in Patna as well. Mohammad Nehal, stated to be kingpin of the Patna gang, is learnt to have revealed to the police that 12 members of his gang had been arrested in the past two months by police in the state capital.

Nehal also told his interrogators that they learnt the art of removing the cash box of the ATMs with the help of Google searches and YouTube videos.

The gang had an information-technology engineer who used to impart training to the members. The gang had spread its tentacles in Nalanda, Bhojpur, Purnea and East Champaran.

Authoritative sources said that police teams from states such as Uttar Pradesh, Rajashan, Maharashtra, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand visited Bihar in search of ATM fraudsters in the past.

Police sources said that Katarisarai in Nalanda, Korha in Katihar and Ghorasahan in East Champaran have of late become nerve centres of cyber fraud in Bihar.

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