Central Crime Branch (CCB) of the city police has launched a hunt for the kingpin of a gang whose members acquired credit/debit card details of customers of some petrol bunks in the city and used them to make fake cards.

According to police, the culprits had cheated 13 motorists of over Rs.8 lakh in four months.

Sources with the CCB said the gang members who operated at three petrol bunks in Anna Nagar, Kodambakkam and Madhavaram used skimmer devices to capture the card details of those who made payment for fuel with their cards. “The culprits who worked at the concerned petrol stations used compact skimmers and swiped the cards of the victims by diverting their attention or moving away from the direct eye contact of the victim,” said an investigating officer.

The details pertaining to the credit/debit cards of the 13 victims obtained from November 2009 using the skimmer was used to make fake cards which in turn were used by the gang members to make purchases to the tune of over Rs.8 lakh, he added.

Following police complaints by victims, a CCB team investigated and arrested Amaresan (38), a Sri Lankan national working in a petrol bunk in Anna Nagar. A skimmer was also recovered from him.

When questioned, he confessed to the crime and revealed that Thirumurgan (35), also a Sri Lankan national, was his accomplice. “Thirumurgan was the agent who used to visit Amaresan on a weekly basis to collect the data obtained by the latter using the skimmer. Amaresan used to get paid from Rs.500 to Rs.2,000 according to the credit value of the card whose information he had illegally obtained. The data was transferred to the kingpin who along with his aides is suspected to have made the fake credit card in Chennai,” the officer said. The two men were arrested and remanded to custody. A search is also on other members of the gang, including some of the former employees of the three petrol bunks.