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Racketeers counted on cops’ lethargy to operate for years

Racketeers counted on cops’ lethargy to operate for years

Racketeers counted on cops’ lethargy to operate for yearsChannelling money through accounts also helped card cloning accused: police

Mumbai: The people arrested in connection with the pan-India card cloning racket have told the police that they relied on the police lethargy in investigating cases that extend beyond state borders, which helped them evade arrest for nearly 10 years.

The property cell of the Mumbai Crime Branch had arrested six people for allegedly cloning debit and credit cards of their victims and stealing money from their accounts. The police had seized a large quantity of debit and credit card data from the accused.

According to Crime Branch officers, interrogation of the accused has indicated that they have been active since 2008. “The accused have said that they started out around 10 years ago with a small quantity of debit and credit card data, when there was not much awareness of such rackets. Over time, they observed that in cases spanning cities or states, investigation proceeds at a very slow pace. As the years passed, they started enlisting more people in whose accounts they could transfer the money and get it withdrawn the same day, creating additional layers between themselves and investigating agencies,” a senior Crime Branch officer said.

Till date, the accused are suspected to have made crores of rupees, all of which was passed through several accounts. With the advent of e-wallets, they were able to add even more layers before the money reached them, which further contributed to them evading arrest, sources said.

The fact that the accused are based in various locations all over the country, too, was a factor, investigating officers said. Among the arrested accused, Kasturiram Solanki (30) was based in Chiplun, Madankumar Sundesa (33) and Chandansingh Rao in Rajasthan, Ramesh Chandran (31) in Coimbatore, Deepak Gehlot in Bhayander, and Kolawole Hakim (48) in Reay Road.

“The accused always used WhatsApp calls or internet calling to communicate, due to which there are no records of any conversations that they had pertaining to the racket, which is another precautionary measure,” the officer said.

Meanwhile, the property cell on Thursday arrested a seventh accused in connection with the racket. Sameer Ansari, a resident of Mumbai, had helped in cloning the card and moving the money made through the racket, officers said. Mr. Hakim, who is said to be the mastermind, would allegedly obtain data and provide it to the other accused for cloning, while Mr. Chandran would provide the machines. The Crime Branch has seized complete details, including PIN numbers and CVV numbers, of over 600 citizens from Mr. Hakim’s laptop.

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