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Tuesday, Feb 08, 2005

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ATM guard, landlord held

By Our Staff Reporter

NEW DELHI, FEB.7. A security guard and his landlord have been arrested by the police on charges of stealing cheques worth over Rs. 42 lakhs from a drop-box at an ATM booth at Vivek Vihar in East Delhi and getting six of them cashed fraudulently. The police have recovered 28 cheques worth Rs. 40.47 lakhs and goods bought from the ill-gotten money.

According to the Deputy Commissioner of Police (East Delhi), Nuzhat Hussan, the fraud came to light when one of the HDFC cheques for Rs. 28,320 deposited in the Preet Vihar branch of Indian Overseas Bank on January 17 was returned with a request for certain verifications from the supposed drawer. The account in which the cheque had been deposited belonged to Surender Singh Chauhan, a resident of Mandawali. Suspecting that something was amiss, the bank checked the records of Chauhan's account and found that between January 15 and 24, he had deposited eight cheques and six of them amounting to Rs. 98,500 were credited to his account, which he had already withdrawn. The bank chief manager then lodged a complaint with the police, on the basis of which Chauhan was rounded up.

During interrogation, he disclosed that he had got the cheques from his tenant, Rajbir Singh, who was also detained. Rajbir confessed to having stolen the cheques from the drop-box of an IDBI ATM booth where he was posted for some time. He revealed that he worked as a security guard with Premier Security Services and was deployed at that booth for five times during which he stole the cheques and then stopped reporting for duty. To withdraw money, Rajbir allegedly erased the names of people to whom the cheque had been issued and put Chauhan's name on them instead. Surprisingly, bank officials did not detect the fraud and cleared six of the cheques.

The accused then bought mobile phones, compact disc player, 40 compact discs and other articles worth Rs. 30,000. Rajbir claimed that he gave Rs. 30,000 to his relatives and friends. At his instance, the police have recovered Rs. 3,000 in cash, the goods he had purchased and 28 more cheques which he had allegedly stolen from the drop-box.

Meanwhile, the banks concerned have been alerted to stop the clearance of a cheque deposited by Chauhan. Both the accused have been arrested and booked under relevant provisions of the Indian Penal Code.

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