Mumbai: ATM cash loaders exploit flawed system, swindle Rs 1.25 cr in six months

Police have arrested two employees of a cash management firm and are on the lookout for another two, including the mastermind, for duping a renowned bank that had hired the firm to load money into their ATMs across Western suburbs. The accused siphoned off nearly R1.25 crore in the last six months.

While the cops have arrested Vikas Shivekar (24) and Anant Kanojia (26), they are now on the lookout for the gang’s mastermind Kamble and one of their accomplices. All four were part of a team, headed by Kamble, responsible for loading cash into the ATMs. They were employees of ISI Security Company.

Cops speak
An officer from Malad police station said, “Since the accused were well acquainted with the system, they used a flaw in the ATMs to mask their crimes. They knew that an audit was necessary to ascertain whether money was loaded in an ATM or not despite updating the logbook, and the accused exploited this loophole. A few days later, they would transfer money allotted for a particular ATM into the one they had emptied earlier. This way, they kept suspicions at bay.”

The officer added it wasn’t until the bank started receiving regular complaints from users about a perennial shortage of cash at its ATMs that it decided to conduct an audit. The scrutiny revealed that while R22 lakh was missing from ATMs in Amboli and Jogeshwari (West) on September 25, a deficit of R33 lakh was recorded at the Malad Bazaar ATM on September 23. Stunned by the discovery, bank officials immediately contacted the cash management firm seeking clarification on the missing cash.

Based on the complaint received from the bank, security company officials formed a team to investigate the matter. The probe revealed that Kamble’s team was responsible for loading money into the ATMs from which the cash was missing. Later, the company filed FIRs against the accused at Malad and Amboli police stations.

Another officer from Malad police station said, “It was the in-house investigating team that nabbed Shivekar and Kanojia, and handed them over to us in the last week of September. However, Kamble and the fourth accused managed to escape. Such crimes aren’t possible without the involvement of an insider. We strongly suspect that the accused had inside support from either the bank or their company. The picture will get clear once the absconding accused are nabbed.”

The arrested duo will be handed over to the Amboli police today for further investigation. Trushant Redkar, an official from the security company who filed the FIRs against the accused, refused to comment.

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