A gang with a well connected overseas network, which was operating in several cities, was busted near here and the police seized as many as 43 debit and credit cards from them.

About Rs. eight lakh in cash in Rs 1000, Rs 500 and Rs 100 denominations withdrawn in and around the city's ATMs here on Sunday night alone was recovered from them on Monday.

Preliminary inquiries indicated that the gang comprised members from different places like Chennai, Namakkal, Sivaganga, Ramanathapuram.

One among them was a Sri Lankan refugee. They were known to one another for about five to six years.

Addressing a press conference, Inspector-General and Commissioner of Police (Madurai City) P. Kannappan said that a probe revealed that the gang allegedly obtained data relating to the cards through their “counterparts” working in shopping malls. The cards, which resembled those issued by HSBC, ICICI, Axis, Standard Chartered and Citi Banks, were seized from them.

Based on their confession, the police realised that the data of card holders, which got stored in the ATMs, were accessed and downloaded secretly by the gang and passed on to their counterparts in locations such as Tamil Nadu. The accused had Master and Visa cards which could be used in ATMs for withdrawing cash.

The names of the arrested persons were given as Pratap (40), son of Gnanasekaran of Namakkal, Ganesan (33) son of Vasanth of Saidapet, Chennai (a native of Kanyakumari), Anand alias Ruban (42), son of Antony of Namakkal (a Sri Lankan refugee, now settled in Namakkal) and Syed Abudahir (35), son of Hyath Khan of R.S. Mangalam Ramanathapuram district. A taxi driver, Vijaykumar of Sivaganga district, is also involved in the crime. It is suspected that a member in the gang had escaped with Rs 10 lakh cash to an undisclosed destination.

Mr. Kannappan appealed to card holders to pass on information whenever some persons videographed using mobile phones ATM outlets or shopping malls.

He appreciated a woman Sub-Inspector of Police Logeswari, two mobile patrol police personnel and other team members, who caught one of the accused when he was moving in a suspicious manner on Sunday night, which led to the detection of the crime.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (law and order) Thirunavukkarasu and others were present.