Mumbai: Alert bank employees nab scamster trying to withdraw stolen money
Bunch of middle-aged bank employees overpower online fraudster who had brazenly come to their branch to withdraw the ill-gotten money
Comedy, crime and drama - it was like a scene straight out of a Bollywood caper at the Goregaon West branch of UCO Bank on Monday. Bank staffers turned into impromptu heroes when they spotted a fraudster in the branch, physically tackling him and then dragging him inside kicking and screaming, before handing him over to the cops. The best part is CCTV cameras captured it all.
1. Staffers at the UCO Bank's Goregaon West branch received an alert from the Telangana Cyber Cell about a fraudster who was duping people by claiming that they had won the lottery. He told them that to claim their winnings, they would first have to deposit a percentage of the amount in a bank account provided by him. Bank employees pulled up CCTV footage from October 5 that shows the accused, Rakesh Shaw, withdrawing his ill-gotten profits at the ATM. They flagged his account for investigation.
2. On October 25, ironically just as UCO Bank's Vigilance Week began, Shaw sauntered in for a cheque withdrawal. Cashier Chhaya Vashi instantly recognised him from the CCTV images. "We were already on high alert due to Vigilance Week. When the suspect arrived at the withdrawal window, I identified him, and confirmed it by matching the cheque to the flagged account. He wanted to withdraw R50,000. I stalled him and immediately alerted the assistant branch manager," said Chhaya.
3. Assistant branch manager Abhishek Kumar signalled the branch attendant RV Sawant (left) to down the bank's shutters immediately and prevent Shaw's escape. Pics/Sameer Abedi
4. Sawant recalled, "I had pulled the shutter halfway down, when the accused (in printed shirt) tried to slip through. After a brief scuffle, he gave us the slip and fled." CCTV images show how Shaw tried to flee, even as bank staffers attempted to pull him back inside the bank. Eventually though, he managed to escape their clutches.
5. Shaw doesn't make it farther than 12 feet, before Sawant and Kumar tackle him to the ground. They, along with other bank officials - asst manager (possessions) Satish Arora (left) and special assistant Sanjay Arora (above, left) - drag him back inside the branch.
Sawant said, "While chasing him. I fell, but I got back up and we managed to catch him. We hauled him back inside and locked the gate."
6. Meanwhile, special assistant Sulabha Talathi (right) called the police control room thrice. But when the cops did not turn up after 10 minutes, assistant manager Rudra Narayan Pradhan (left) rode out on his motorbike to the Goregaon police station. The police team arrived at the bank after 25 minutes, took custody of Shaw and alerted their Telangana counterparts.
An officer from the Telangana Cyber Cell said, "This was a case of advance-fee scam. The complainant received a text message that he had won Rs 8.5 lakh. He believed it and deposited Rs 62.9 lakh in various bank accounts upon the instructions of the accused."
The Tamil Nadu and Telangana cops realised that Shaw would always withdraw from Goregaon. This case could just be the tip of the iceberg, as cops found 41 cheques from different banks with Shaw, as well as 16 debit cards. The police are trying to investigate how many victims he defrauded. "The Telangana cops arrived the next day and took his custody," said Sanjeev Bhole, senior PI, Goregaon police.
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