CID busts skimming racket

The cyber crime sleuths of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) on Thursday busted a credit and debit card ‘skimming’ racket and arrested Neeta Manoj Kumar (33), and her associate, Kiran Krishnappa (34). However, the kingpin, Manoj Kumar, who is also Neeta’s husband, managed to escape. The police suspect that the fraudsters have managed to amass Rs. 5 to 6 crore since 2015.

Based on a tip-off, a team led by Hemanth Nimbalkar, Inspector General of Police (Economic Offences) raided their home in Kasavanahalli and seized over thousands of blank cards and machines used to fabricate duplicate credit and debit cards.

Investigators say that the Kumars have been running this scheme for 14 years now. In fact, the CID had arrested Neeta and Manoj last year, but they secured bail and continued to scam people on a much larger scale, said an official.

Modus operandi

The accused would get their hands on confidential details of international credit and debit cards on the ‘darknet’ (a network hidden from regular web users), and use the details to make online purchases. They would then offload the goods in the grey market.

They would also illegally siphon off money from people’s accounts. The Kumars were careful to use only international credit cards in India, thus, making it difficult for law enforcement agencies in other countries to catch them.

Trailing the mastermind

A special team has been formed to locate Manoj, who is wanted by the police in many States including Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.

For years, the CID had been building a case against Manoj Kumar, who also goes by the name ‘Akshay’, and has operations across India. He was first booked in 2002 by the Chennai police, and was also arrested by the Mumbai police in 2003. He was convicted in Maharashtra and was in jail for about one year.

After his release, he worked at a BPO for a few years, and then decided to get into the credit card scam and was arrested in Chennai in 2010. In 2011, another four cases were registered against him in Tamil Nadu. He was able to make bail in both cases and fled to Malaysia.

He returned to India in 2014 and settled down in Bengaluru, but was arrested by the Indiranagar police for a new case. He made bail in this case, too.

In December 2015, Cyber Crime Police arrested him and his wife for credit card fraud. The police believe that Manoj Kumar is still in the country.

Materials seized

1 debit/credit card printer machine

1 debit/credit card reader and writer machine

2 card embossing machines

1 SIM card imaging machine

1 thermal printing roll

6 bank passbooks

9 debit/credit cards

16 cheque books

2 cars

Credit card holograms

22 EDC (Electronic Data Capture) machines

Over 2762 debit/credit cards without names or numbers

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Printable version | May 11, 2021 10:37:52 PM |

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