A dozen arrested for ATM fraud

Police on Wednesday make public those arrested allegedly for stealing money from ATMs of Agriculture Development Bank, during a press meet at Teku in Kathmandu. KATHMANDU, Sept 26: Twelve individuals have been arrested over their alleged role in stealing Rs 47.3 million from various ATM kiosks of Agricultural Development Bank Limited.

On Wednesday, police made public Sujan Karki, Nima Tamang, Sanjaya Ghale, Vidya Sagar Lammichhane, Shrawan Kumar Shrestha, Shubankar Panja, Bijaya Shah,Chandra Bahadur Budha, Pushpa Raj Khadka, Lemang Tamang and Laxmi Tamang of Nuwakot.

They were nabbed from various places of Kathmandu and outside based on the information of a bank staffer who had notified the police after coming across several suspicious transactions. Police have seized around Rs 5 million from the arrestees.

Police said that the accused had stolen the bank’s online password, transferred the money to several accounts and withdrawn the money from various ATM kiosks across the country.

Preliminary investigation by police shows that an African man based in India could be the mastermind of the theft.

The alleged mastermind, who has been identified as Peter, had pooled Nepali and Indian nationals and provided them with ‘some training’ before using them for banking fraud.

He would provide somewhere between 15 to 35 percent of the stolen amount in commission to the foot soldiers and transfer the rest to India through hundi, an illegal non-banking channel.

The racket, which is thought to have network across the country, had allegedly planned to steal around Rs 5 billion from various banks by using his contacts in Nepal, police claim.

Police said that they are also investigating possible involvement of bank staff in the leakage of the password.

Of late, there has been a marked rise in number of ATM heists and fraud.

Police earlier this month arrested around a dozen individuals including Chinese nationals for their alleged involvement in stealing millions of rupees from various ATMs in the capital.Banks and financial institutions have tightened transactions through ATM and imposed an unannounced prohibition from withdrawing money from India.

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