Special correspondent

Man held on fraud charge

HYDERABAD: Criminal ingenuity knows no bounds. Here was a man who excelled in the art of turning plastic currency into real currency leaving bank officials red-faced and the police puzzled, till they got the better of him.

The simple modus operandi employed by M. Ashok Reddy, who failed to clear his Intermediate examination, has stunned officials of at least eight multinational banks, as they had never sensed the criminal activity being carried out. Reddy, hailing from Nalgonda is accused of floating fictitious business establishments - Shree Electricals & Electronics and Surya Marketing at LB Nagar in March 2006. Using forged PAN cards, he managed to convince banks like UTI, IDBI, Bank of Baroda and HSBC to issue him Electronic Data Capturing (EDC) machines for accepting credit card transactions from his `customers'. Later, he began issuing advertisements in newspapers luring credit card holders to `avail spot cash' without any purchases. He would convince `cash-strapped' customers to pay him a commission of five per cent and swipe the credit card for bogus purchases. He used to pay them money and later the banks used to pay him money for the `transactions'.

According to Inspector A. Emmanuel Benjamin, who arrested him for fraud, Reddy subsequently damaged all the seven EDC machines and destroyed the charge slips, which were to be sent to the banks. He used credit cards of his close relatives to make fictitious purchases, claim money from banks and then make his relatives file transaction denial claims with banks.

When the banks smelt a rat and rushed to L.B Nagar, they found the shops closed and Reddy nowhere in sight. The police realised that he used copies of PAN cards of two persons Uday Bhaskar and Ramana and created false cards to hoodwink the banks. He had obtained a VAT collection certificate too. Reddy was earlier involved in similar activities and was facing trial in two cases registered in Malakpet and Saroornagar police stations, according to G. Sudheer Babu, DCP of Task Force.