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DELHI POLICE BUSTED ORGANIZED SYNDICATE OF CHEQUE DUPLICATORS

April 11, 2017 09:39 PM

New Delhi (Face2News)

With the arrest of (1) Gaurav Kumar Goel, aged 34 yrs, s/oMohan Lal Goel, R/o G-1, Krishna Apartment, Purshottam Vihar, Kankhal,Haridwar, (2) Ashish Kumar Parashar @Kishley Kishore @ Shanu, aged 28 yrs, s/o Mahesh Kumar Thakur, r/o Plot No.429, Akshardham Apartment, Sec 19, Pocket 3, Dwarka, New Delhi, (3) Amarjeet Singh, aged 47 yrs, s/o DilipSingh, r/o 104/15, Bhai Piyar Nagar, Shahbad, Markanda, Kurushetra, Haryana, (4)Pritam Das, aged 54 yrs, s/o ShivCharan Das, r/o C-3, Phase 1, New Palam Vihar, Gurgaon and (5) Sunil Sharma, aged 42 yrs, s/o RamShanker Sharma, r/o WZ-542, Naraina Village, Delhi, the South District Policehas busted a complex syndicate of Inter-State Cheque duplicators and has recovered a huge number of duplicate cheques of various public as well as private sectorviz. PNB, SBI, HDFC, Bank of Baroda, Axis, Bank of India, ICICI, Canera Bank,Induslnd Bank, Union Bank, Yes Bank, Karur Vysya Bank, Allahabad Bank,IDBI etc. Apart from the cheques,sophisticated type fonts and restricted ink used to re-print MICR and IFSCcodes has been recovered.

PAN-INDIA BANK ACCOUNTS COMPROMISATION:  EMPLOYEES OF BANKS, PUBLIC AS WELL AS PRIVATE, INVOLVED IN BREACHING CONFIDENTIALITY,  A KEY ACTOR OPERATING FROM USA IDENTIFIED,  1 LAPTOP, 1 PRINTER, 1 PAPER CUTTER, 1 MAGNIFYING GLASS, 45 FORGED CHEQUES AND 81 CHEQUES RECOVERED.

Mr.ChinmoyBiswal, IPS, Addl. DCP/South District, disclosed that that compromised bank accounts are located all across India, especially in metropolitan cities like Delhi, Mumbai,Dibrugarh, Chandigarh, Coimbatore etc. The members’ syndicate arrested represent the head of an iceberg which has infiltrated a large number of bankaccounts with active connivance of bank employees/third party vendors, the truemagnitude of which is yet to be assessed.  

Incident& Arrests: On 12/03/2017,a fraudulent withdrawal of Rs. 95,00,000/- was reported by the complainant from his PNB Account No. 01590021000XXXXX (in the name of Safe Water Network India; a reputed NGO) through a PNB Cheque bearing No. 909671, purportedly belonging to the complainant. The said amount hadbeen transferred to another PNB account No. 0422021001XXXXX, standing in thename of M/s Lucky Timber & Iron Store, PNB Shahbad Markanda Branch,Kurushetra, Haryana. The complainant also informed that the original chequebearing serial number 909671 wasinhis possession and had never been issued to anybody. On this, a case FIR No. 92/2017,u/s. 420/467/468/471/120-B IPC was registered in PS Hauz Khas and investigationwas taken up. Initial investigation revealed that the debited amount hadfurther been funnelled into various bank accounts soon after being credited tothe PNB account belonging to M/sLucky Timber & Iron Store. Seeing the sensitivity of the matter, aSpecial Investigation Team headed by Shri R.S. Pathania, ACP Hauz Khas andcomprising of Inspectors’ Sanjay Sharma, SHO Hauz Khas, Ramphool/ATO PS KM Pur,Rakesh Kumar, ATO/PS Malviya Nagar, Ajit Kumar, District Cyber Cell/South andAnand Swaroop, IO was formed assisted by SIs Gajender Singh and Arvind from PSHauz Khas.

Acting swiftly, accused Amarjeet Singh, the holder of PNB Account who had presentedand had got credited 95 Lakh Rupees on the basis of a duplicate cheque was traced and apprehended on 12/03/2017. He was subjected to sustainedinterrogation wherein he revealed that the cheque in question had been given tohim by one Rajeev Gupta @ Gaurav Kumar Goel along with his associates. The dealto receive 95 Lakhs of fraudulent money was sealed for a consideration of 30Lakhs in favour of Rajeev Gupta @ Gaurav Kumar Goel.

Accused Amarjeet Singh knew Rajeev Gupta @ Gaurav Kumar Goel through a chain of contacts but was unaware of his true address or location. The only thing thathe correctly remembered was that this suspect was travelling in a Volkswagen car whose four digits of registration were remembered by him.  After massive dataanalysis, the correct vehicle was identified only to learn that it hadexchanged three ownerships in quick succession. Thereafter, intensive technicalanalysis and ground work spread over a fortnight was carried out in variousDistricts of Western Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand and finally, accused RajeevGupta @ Gaurav Kumar Goel was arrested from Sec 62, Noida, UP. At the time ofhis arrest, over 70 duplicate/forged cheques, issued from various nationalized andprivate sector banks were recovered from his possession. Apart from thesecheques, many stamps of various government/non govt. organizations/banks were also recovered.

Some of the stamps were “जिला परियोजना सर्व शिक्षा अभियान हरिद्वार, HILLWOODS ACADEMY Authorizedsignatory, सहायक वित एवं लेखाधिकारी सर्व शिक्षा अभियान हरिद्वार, कृत भारतीय स्टेट बैंक forSTATE BANK OF INDIA प्रबन्धक Manageretc. Accused RajeevGupta @ Gaurav Kumar Goel was subjected to sustained interrogation and he soonspelt out many names of his associates’ in the network. He disclosed that hewas in the business of arranging clients for duplicate cheques on a commission.The forged cheques were made available to him for ‘sale’ by a network ofoperators, primary amongst them being one Chirag Chaudhary of Delhi. Accusedalso disclosed that he was availing the services of a master-forger called Shanu@ Ashish Thakur @ Kislay Kishore, who used to fill in critical data like IFSCCode, MICR Code along with the signatures using sophisticated tools at hiscommand to complete a cheque leaflet as per the data provided to him by ChiragChaudhary and others.

The arrest of Guarav Kumar Goel led to the search of his associates namely Shanu Thakurand Chirag Chaudhary. While accused Chirag Chaudhary was soon learnt to have fled India, the search for Shanu Thakur, which involved deep technical researchand infiltration by the team, has been one of its kind. In Police Custody, accused Gaurav Kumar Goel disclosed that he was in touch with Shanu Thakur overwhatsapp only. However, when the mobile phone of accused Gaurav Kumar Goel wasexamined, it was found that Shanu Thakur’s whatsapp number was a virtual numbersubscribed on a United States of America SIM Card. Since it is impossible totrack a US cell phone number, technical infiltration using IP locator tools wasresorted to under expert supervision which revealed that the Internet Protocoladdress allocated to the US number being used by Shanu Thakur belonged to anIndian TSP viz. Vodafone India. Quickly, data from Vodafone was requisitionedand by systematic analysis of various dynamic IPs being allocated for a particulartime stamp session of whatsapp usage by Shanu Thakur, his real Indian IMEI wasdeciphered. The resolution of Dynamic IP Addresses, technically known as NAT-ting(Network Address Translation), was carried out by the SIT for the first time.Soon, the team reached the doorsteps of accused Shanu Thakur and this masterforger was apprehended from an address in Dwarka, Delhi. From his possession, asophisticated printer along with 19 forged cheques belonging to various banksand issued against accounts spread over various cities of India were recovered.One laptop (which he used to prepare forged cheque), stamps, high quality magneticink (used to print MICR or the Magnetic Ink Character Recognition – a prominentsafety feature on cheques) and other articles which were used for duplicatingcheques were also recovered.

Accused Shanu Thakur was subjected to sustained interrogation wherein he corroborated the disclosures made by accused Gaurav Kumar Goel and gave detailed insightsinto the process of cheque duplication. He disclosed that the blank chequeleaflets were provided to him by many operators of the syndicate, primaryamongst them being Gaurav Kumar Goel. His job as the finisher was to erase theIFSC and MICR codes and replace them with the provided codes of compromisedbank accounts. For this purpose, he used extremely sharp blades to chip away,strand by strand, using his extremely dexterous hands, the printed codes andthereafter, using special ink procured from certain grey markets of West Bengalthrough a slew of contacts, reprinting the compromised code/s and chequenumber/s in the particular font using Corel Draw software and customized inkcartridges. Prolonged exposure to the high iron oxide inks and sharp bladeshave left permanent scars and burnt epidermis (skin layers) on his hands.

Once the duplicate cheques were complete, he used to forge the signatures’ of theaccount holder using his amazing instinct at copying. The signatures weremostly provided to him in scanned copies from the database of compromised banksby the network of Chirag Chaudhary and Gaurav Kumar Goel. Apart from a fee forpreparation of the cheque, accused Shanu Thakur also had a share in the amountfraudulently withdrawn using a cheque prepared by him in all successful cases.The cheques duplicated by him are of such fine quality that when presented forencashment, it’s next to impossible to detect the fraud, even under examinationby Ultra Violet (UV) Rays, as the physical body of the cheque is original andthe special ink creates the same electro-magnetic field which is required froman original MICR code.

After the arrests of Gaurav Kumar Goel and Shanu Thakur, efforts were made to locate accused Chirag Chaudhary who was found to be aged 30 yrs, s/o Naveen Chaudhary,r/o E -4/148, Sector 7, Razapur Kalan, Rohini. It was found that he has fledIndia on 17/03/2017 and is presently suspected to be located in USA. ChiragChaudhary was running Walk-In Street, a restro-bar at Padam Singh Road, KarolBagh as a cover to his activities’ apart from running other businesses of gym,spa etc. Accused Chirag Chaudhary is reported to have taken huge amounts ofpersonal and professional loans from various entities and private persons andhas also been reported to have deep contacts in various banks from where datapertaining to compromised bank accounts was being passed on. It has also beenlearnt that his father Naveen Chaudhary has been a Chartered Accountant withgood business circle amongst bankers which might have been used as a springboard by absconding accused Chirag Chaudhary to establish his cartel. NaveenChaudhary has also left India for USA along with his wanted son.

In absence of Chirag Chaudhary, the investigation had seemingly hit a dead-end butsoon, continuing investigations and technical analysis revealed an identitycalled Sunil Sharma as the closest associate of absconding Chirag Chaudhary.His location was found to be in Delhi and he was arrested from Naraina on09/04/2017. Interrogation accused Sunil Sharma revealed that one of the suppliers’of cheque leaflets and compromised data bases to wanted accused ChiragChaudhary is one Pritam Das, Senior Manager, PNB, Khanpur Branch, New Delhi.Information was developed and accused Pritam Das was arrested from New PalamVihar, Gurgaon on 10/04/2017. When confronted with the evidence collectedagainst him, accused Pritam Das disclosed that he was acting in consort withwanted accused Chirag Chaudhary, known to him through his father NaveenChaudhary, in compromising the details of various bank accounts of PNB. AccusedPritam Das, being a senior manager, had access to the PNB database and usedsoftware filters to find out the transaction patterns of high value accountsand once assured that one or two transactions from such accounts are likely notto raise any suspicion on the part of the account holders’ during the processof verification calls made by bank employees when such cheques are presentedfor encashment or clearing, used his access to the banks’ database in takingscreenshots of the signatures/seal of the account holders and thereafter, usedto pass on this sensitive fiduciary information along with sundry details likeIFSC and MICR codes of the cheque books issued against the compromised accountsto Chirag Chaudhary for a price.

Investigationn so far has established that over 30 bank accounts belonging to a total of 17 Public as well as Private sector banks have been compromised. It is suspectedthat insiders as well as third party vendors of the compromised banks areinvolved in this massive conspiracy.Of thearrested accused, Gaurav Kumar Goel and Shanu Thakur have previous criminalrecords and have been arrested earlier for similar offences of chequeduplication in Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh. The concerned details are beingrequisitioned. Investigation to bring accused Chirag Chaudhary to justice by opening his LOC is being done.Investigation regarding the other compromised bank accounts is also being takenup to unearth the larger conspiracy. Further arrests and recoveries are expected. 

Recovery: Onelaptop,  Oneprinter,  Onepaper cutter,  One magnifying glass, Forged cheques – 45. Cheques- 81  

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