Staff Reporter

He helped nab an inter-State ATM fraudster

KOZHIKODE: The Vadakara branch of the State Bank of Travancore (SBT) will honour Padikkal Balakrishnan who nabbed an inter-State ATM fraudster recently. He will be accorded a public reception at Iringal on Saturday.

K.C. Chacko, SBT Chief Manager, Vadakara, said Mr. Balakrishnan had nabbed Raja, 33, of Madurai, Tamil Nadu, who engaged in fraudulent withdrawals through ATMs across the State. The incident took place last week and the culprit was handed over to the Vadakara police. The modus operandi of Raja was to stand in queue in front of ATMs and offer his help to elderly persons who were not familiar with the operation of the ATMs. After helping them collect the cash, he would give them another indistinguishable ATM card. The customers would realise the fraud only when they use the card next time. He was caught red-handed in the case of Balakrishnan .

After the transaction, Mr. Balakrishnan suspected that his ATM card had been swapped since his genuine ATM card had his signature whereas the ATM card which Raja returned did not have any signature.

Raja argued that he had not deliberately changed the ATM card. The matter came before the branch office and when the chief manager insisted that the police needed to be summoned, he tried to flee. Investigations revealed that Raja had cheated several persons and had withdrawn over Rs.5 lakh.

The Vadakara Judicial First Class Magistrate Court remanded him in judicial custody for two weeks. Raja used to block the surveillance camera installed inside the ATM kiosks. However, a few ATMs had got his picture. Investigation is on.