Three Nigerian nationals, Bashar Dakingari Usman (26), Ogbehase Fortune (42), and Ifeanyi Mike Mbaeze (34) have been arrested in India for allegedly installing skimmers (machines) at isolated ATMs in Pune which they used to steal credit and debit card data of bank customers. The trio, part of a syndicate with others still at large, then used a magnetic card reader to clone debit and credit cards, swiping them at ATMs and withdrawing huge amounts of money, illegally.
The cyber crime cell of the Pune police arrested Ogbehase Fortune (42) from Pimple Gurav and Bashar Dakingari Usman (26) from Pirangut, on July 11 and 12. The third suspect, Ifeanyi Mike Mbaeze (34), Mbaevze from Sangvi, remained at large until he was nabbed on Sunday. Pune police has launched a manhunt for other members of the syndicate that have not been apprehended.
Ogbehase Fortune (43) came to India on a medical visa and Bashar Dakin Garim Osman (27) arrived on a student’s visa. Both their visas had expired in 2015.
Several debit cards and Rs 1.8 lakh in cash was recovered from both. They were arrested under provisions of the IPC and the IT Act.
Ogbehase Fortune (43) and Bashar Dakin Garim Osman (27) would visit ATM kiosks in isolated places and withdraw money from them. Ogbehase was caught by a cyber cell team while effecting a transaction at an ATM kiosk in Pimple-Gurav on July 11. Both were remanded in police custody till July 18.
“We have arrested Nigerian nationals for card cloning in Pune for the first time,” deputy commissioner of police (cyber crime) Sudhir Hiremath said on Thursday.
Police received a tip-off about Ogbehase after his image was caught on CCTV camera at an ATMs. Technical investigations confirmed his involvement. Later, they arrested his accomplice Bashar from his residence at Pirangut near Pune on Wednesday.
Police suspect them of using the cards at select petrol pumps for getting some money on a commission basis.
The involvement of more Nigerian nationals and others is suspected because they have used a magnetic card reader for cloning cards and used these cards in hotels, malls, pumps and ATM kiosks.
Ogbehase and Bashar were arrested on charges of duping an official Hemant Appasaheb Phalke (45) of Ammunition Factory, Khadki to the tune of Rs 67,000 on June 24. The Khadki police had registered a case on July 11.
“An inquiry with the bank showed that Ogbehase gave false details for opening a fictitious account. We obtained a link to his account and got his cellphone number. Investigations showed that he visited isolated ATMs for withdrawing huge sums illegally,” he added.
Police teams waited at ATMs in Aundh, Sangvi and Baner. Ogbehase was caught red-handed while transacting at an ATM kiosk at Pimple-Gurav in Sangvi. A search conducted on his person led to the recovery of cash of over Rs 1 lakh.
“Ogbehase gave Bashar’s name during interrogation. We then laid a trap and took him into custody after he arrived at his residence in Pirangut. The duo during interrogation claimed the cloned cards were supplied to them by other accomplices who are on the run. We are facing language problems while communicating with them,” he added.
Mbaeze had come to India on a business visa in 2015. Before coming to Pune, he was staying in Mumbai. The cell inspector Manisha Zende said, “The involvement of Mbaeze had come to light during the interrogation of his two accomplices. We have recovered three cellphones and Rs 8,000 from him.”
She said, “We suspect Mbaeze for using skimmer for copying data of debit cards from ATMs. Mbaeze claimed that he was a garments dealer, but failed to furnish evidence.” We have invoked charges of conspiracy under section 120 (b) of the IPC on the three suspects, she added.
Police are conducting investigations to find out where the trio filed their “C” forms after arriving in India.