Mumbai: The city police have begun efforts to catch the two Bulgarians who allegedly ‘hacked’ into an ATM kiosk at Colaba and withdrew Rs 15.5 lakh from 39 bank accounts, including of 14 policemen. A Letter Rogatory has been sent to the extradition cell for forwarding to the “CBI Interpol wing and then to Greece”.
The Bulgarian nationals have been identified as Tsenev Yulian Georgiev (27) and Elin Pelin (26), both resident of Sofia. They are suspected of installing a skimming device at an Axis Bank ATM kiosk and copying the card details of as many as 986 cardholders.
“As per the information unearthed so far, the two first installed the skimming device on April 7 and removed it on April 12,” said a senior police officer. “They fitted it again in the same ATM on April 13 and took it off on April 19, the day they left India.” Each installation and removal was performed between 10.30pm and 11pm.
The fraud came to light this month when a few policemen complained about money getting deducted from their accounts though they had not use their cards. The bank credited the money to their accounts and lodged an FIR at Colaba police station.
Using the card data stolen from the Colaba ATM, the fraudsters withdrew a total of around Rs 15.5 lakh from eight ATM kiosks in Greece. Officers said the ATMs belong to Bank of Cyprus Public Company, Panellinia Bank SA, Probank, Banco Dominicano Del Progreso, Citibank International Plc, Piraeus Bank, National bank of Greece and Emporiki Bank of Greece.
Police officers said the two suspects stayed at Apollo Hotel and Suba Palace in Colaba, Ibis Hotel near the domestic airport, and Four Seasons at Worli. “We have got photocopies of their passports. Hotel staffers have verified their stay. We have many witnesses who can identify the two once they are in custody,” said an investigating officer. The police inquired about the suspects at 45 hotels and lodges in Colaba, Cuffe Parade and Marine Drive before they had some success.
India has an extradition treaty with Bulgaria, said police officers, and hence the extradition of the two suspects may happen once they are traced. As evidence, they have got images of the two men at the ATM kiosk, their form ‘C’ copies submitted at hotels, CCTV footage from a hotel and the like. “The two contacted someone by making a call through the Bulgarian service provider Cosmo Bulgaria Mobile. We are trying to find out why they did so,” said a police officer.
The Times of India, June 27, 2013