Mumbai

Forged Aadhaar number used in bid to steal from COVID-19 victim’s accounts; 4 arrested

The Mumbai Crime Branch has arrested four people for allegedly trying to steal crores of rupees from the bank accounts of an 82-year-old man who died of COVID-19 on June 20, an official said on Monday.

A Crime Branch Unit XI official said the victim owned Arlabs Limited and Prabhav Properties Private Limited and an employee, Shafeeq Mehboob Shaikh (35), hatched the plan to withdraw money from the deceased’s bank accounts along with his friends Swapnil Vinod Ogalekar (28), Arshad Rafiq Sayyed (39) and Pritesh alias Pintu Bipinchandra Mandaliya (33).

The police said Mr. Shaikh had stolen a cheque book and other bank-related documents from the office. The firm’s manager then filed a complaint at Juhu police station on July 25.

Senior Inspector Chimaji Adhav, “The same day, the Crime Branch got a tip-off about the accused’s plan, which involved transferring crores of rupees with the help of forged documents like Aadhaar card, fake user IDs and passwords.”

Mobiles, laptops seized

The next night, the Crime Branch team raided a hutment in Dahisar and nabbed the accused. Mobile phones and laptops were seized from their possession.

Mr. Sayyed, an MCom graduate, had worked at several banks in the country before taking up a job abroad. He returned to India a few months ago and Mr. Shaikh roped him in to transfer money out of the deceased’s bank accounts.

Mr. Adhav said, “He planned to make the transactions using a software registered with a server outside India. He wanted to make the crime look like it was committed on foreign shores. The IP address and location of the devices used to commit the crime would have led the police investigation outside the country.”

History of cyber fraud

The Crime Branch officials said Mr. Ogalekar and Mr. Mandaliya have cyber fraud cases filed against them at police stations in Akola, Chandigarh and Mumbai.

The officials said Mr. Ogalekar forged an Aadhaar card to procure a duplicate SIM card of the number linked to all the bank accounts of the deceased.

Operated from Dahisar

The accused then activated the SIM card on a phone and downloaded Google Pay and PhonePe to make the online transactions. “The accused located a hutment in Dahisar and decided to make the online transactions from there. However, the owner of the hutment was not involved in the crime,” Mr. Adhav said.

The accused have been booked under Sections 406 (criminal breach of trust), 420 (cheating), 465 (forgery), 467 (forgery of valuable security), 468 (forgery for purpose of cheating), 471 (using forged as genuine) and 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code. The accused have been remanded in police custody till July 31.

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Printable version | Sep 30, 2020 10:14:53 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/forged-aadhaar-number-used-in-bid-to-steal-from-covid-19-victims-accounts-4-arrested/article32207507.ece

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