Three students pursuing their final year in hotel management from the Metropolitan Institute of Hotel Management Catering Technology vandalised three ATM centres in Hadapsar in the wee hours yesterday. The reason they gave the police later was that an ATM had cheated them.
Two of them were arrested, while one met with an accident and will be arrested on discharge from hospital. The arrests were made under Sections 379 (theft), 427 (mischief causing damage), 511 (attempt to commit offence) and 36 (common intention) of the IPC.
Nakul Gangadhar Lonkar (21), who is from Beed, Sandesh Kamlesh Rathod (21), who hails from Asangaon, and Pankaj Apparav Dhole (21) of Usmanabad were inebriated when they withdrew Rs 500 from an ATM. They decided to vent their anger on not only that machine but also two more ATM centres when the balance in the account turned out to be less than the calculation they arrived at after withdrawal.
The trio broke the interactive display screens and other equipment at ATMs of Union Bank of India (UBI), ICICI and Axis Bank with stones. The Hadapsar police received a call informing about the trio’s rampage and rushed to the spot, only to find that the damage had already done and the students had left.
The three students ran out of luck when one of them fractured his leg in a bike accident as they were returning to their rented room at Ghule Park in Hadapsar. A wireless message was sent out and the police intercepted and detained Lonkar and Rathod.
Dhole is undergoing treatment at a hospital, where his accomplices admitted him after the accident.
“We received a call at 2 am on Monday stating that three youths, who were on two bikes, had tried to rob the ATM belonging to UBI near Ravidarshan. By the time we reached the spot, the suspects had left,” said Assistant Police Inspector Satish Chavan of the Hadapsar police station.
Chavan added that the police team found the ATM monitor had been damaged with a big stone, the rear of the machine was broken and the glass panes and door were damaged.
“We immediately informed our patrolling team and instructed them to trace the bikers,” said Chavan.
He said after ransacking and tampering with the UBI ATM, the trio continued towards Manjari Phata and ransacked ATMs belonging to ICICI and Axis Bank.
Luck runs out
Police Sub-Inspector Prasad Lonare, who was on patrolling duty near Magapatta road, saw two men on a Bajaj Pulsar and intercepted them.
“I saw them coming from Hadapsar and asked them to stop. They tried to escape, so we gave chase and detained them,” said Lonare. “When we asked them where they are going, they said that they were students of Metropolitan Institute and were going to their room.”
Lonare’s suspicion proved right as the description of the bike and the suspects matched that of the suspects seen at the UBI ATM.
“I detained them and took them to the police station and later, during sustained interrogation, they confessed all,” said Lonare.
Police Inspector Vishwambhar Golde said Lonkar and Rathod told them that they first had a drinking session and as Lonkar wanted to withdraw money, the trio went to the UBI ATM at Shivdarshan. The suspects told the police that Lonkar’s account balance was Rs 4,000 and he withdrew Rs 500. The machine then printed out his post-withdrawal balance, and it was Rs 3,100, which led him to try to tamper with the ATM to get a proper receipt.
After failing to get anywhere, they damaged the monitor with a big stone. Before leaving, they also vented their anger on other parts of the machine, besides damaging the glass panes and doors.
“After UBI, they targeted Axis and ICICI ATM centres on the way,” said Golde.
He added that after their rampage, the trio went to Magarpatta road, where Dhole fell off his bike and fractured a leg.
“He was taken to Ayush Hospital by the other two suspects. We will arrest him after he gets discharged,” said Golde.
Senior Police Inspector Pandharinath Mandhare said that the college officials had been informed about the incident and they had asked the principal, Vilas Sawant, to approach the police station with the students’ details.
Sawant said that all three students were from middle class families and were pursuing their hotel management course for the past three years.
Representatives of the affected banks filed the complaints against the trio.
Battul Kodayya of UBI Bank said that the students’ rampage had caused a loss of about Rs 5 lakh at the ATM centre of the bank.