Hyderabad: Two Romanians, who were on business visa, have been arrested by Cyberabad police on Tuesday in connection with cloning of ATM cards. The accused, Vasile Gabriel Razvan, 34 and Buricea Alexandru Mihai, 32, were arrested in Mumbai, police said. 

According to police, on May 4, M Anil Bhargava, a resident of Kukatpally, was shocked after receiving a message from his bank informing about withdrawal of Rs 1 lakh from his savings account from Goregaon, Mumbai. He was surprised and believed it as hoax message as he had his ATM card with himself. However, when he checked his account balance the next day, he found that the money was really withdrawn. Then, he lodged a complaint with cybercrime police.

It was not him alone who approached Cyberabad police complaining about ATM fraud, but also 45 others lodged complaints with the police. Cyberabad Commissioner V Sajjanar said, “Gabriel and Alexandru came to Hyderabad in December last year and identified the ATM centres sans security guards. Then they went to Delhi the same month and kept skimmers in the ATM centres in Delhi in January and withdrew the amounts in Mumbai by using the cloned cards to the tune of Rs 9.5 lakh. They would immediately convert the money through Western Union outlets.” 

At the behest of Gabriel, his aides Ticu Bogdan Costinel and Puica Eugn Marian visited Hyderabad and installed skimmers in different ATM centres in February and March, the Commissioner said. As of now, according to complaints and reports, the accused withdrew about Rs 35 lakh, he added. 

The prime accused Vasile Gabriel Razvan plotted a conspiracy to collect the ATM cards data by installing skimmers and cameras at ATM centres in order to clone the ATM cards. They choose Hyderabad city to install the skimmers inside the ATM centres, and they have installed them at Axis Bank ATM, Vijay Nagar Colony, HDFC Bank ATM, Krishna Nagar, Canara Bank ATM, Vivekananda Nagar, Kukatpally, and Union Bank of India ATM, Indira Nagar, Kukatpally.  They would remove skimmer a day after the installation inside the ATM.

During the investigation, the police have found that the money was withdrawn from three ATM centres in Mumbai, at Upper Govind Nagar of Malad East, Chincholi Bandar of Malad West and Bhanukanth Compound of Goregaon East areas.

The police recovered 196 skimmed cards, six camera panels, one MSR machine, six ATM card skimmers, two external hard disks, seven mobile phones, two passports and a laptop from their possession. Two other Romanian nationals are still at large, police said.