On November 22, Rs 24 lakh was swindled from the bank account of the eye hospital located in Mylapore in five fraudulent transactions, while the phone number linked to the bank account had become inactive.
Based on a complaint from Dr Raveendhran, managing trustee of the hospital, the CCB registered a case. Investigation revealed that the fraudsters had hacked the hospital’s email ID on November 20 and obtained a new SIM card from a network provider for the phone number linked to the bank account through the email ID. While the actual phone number used by the hospital became inactive, the fraudsters received OTPs in the new SIM card they obtained for the fraudulent transactions, keeping the hospital in the dark.
Since the inquiries revealed that the swindled money had been split and deposited in 16 bank accounts across West Bengal, a special team was formed under inspector Vinothkumar to nab the suspects.
The team collected statements of the 16 banks, phone numbers linked to the accounts and ATM footage and confirmed that gangs operated in and around the areas of Behala, Halisahar, Palla Bazar near Bangladesh border.
While the address details provided in the bank accounts were found to be fake, police traced the accused with help of the tower location of their phones and the screenshots of the suspects withdrawing cash from ATMs. Behela police too helped the cybercrime team to arrest the suspects.
The arrested were identified as A Sayantan Mukherjee (25) of Murshidabad, S Rahul Roy (24) of North 24 Parganas, A Rokan Alishana (27) of South 24 Parganas and B Rakesh Kumar Singh (33) of Bihar.
Inquiries revealed that they all worked for one Sathish Yadav alias Rajeev of Uttar Pradesh. “While Sathish Yadav is suspected to have hacked the hospital’s email ID and obtained a fake SIM card, the job of the arrested was to withdraw cash transferred by Sathish Yadav from different ATMs. Sathish Yadav had met them personally and took the cash back and the arrested received 5 per cent commission for being part of the fraud,” said the inspector.
As many as 14 mobile phones, 105 SIM cards, 154 debit cards, 22 fake PAN cards, 128 fake Aadhaar cards were seized from the accused. While they were produced before a magistrate in Howrah on December 31, all four accused were brought to the city and remanded in judicial custody on Monday.