The Thane Rural Police arrested five Bhayander residents on Monday, three months after booking them for allegedly siphoning off Rs 1.42 crore from the Bank of Maharashtra (BoM) using the United Payments Interface (UPI) mobile application.
The Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the Thane Rural Police has identified Jaswant Damania, his son Raj Damania and Prateek Poojary as among the main accused. Apart from them, the police arrested Jatin Sankhe and Jugal Shah, both of whom are account-holders at the bank’s Bhayander branch. The five were produced in court on Tuesday. In March, the police had booked 22 people after the bank stated in its complaint that its central server had been hacked to overlook and approve transactions made through the central government’s UPI app from accounts which did not have sufficient balance.
Between December 26, 2012 and January 18, 2017, the accused made 142 “request money” transactions using UPI, the police said. The fraud came to light in January, after which the bank froze the accounts to which the money had been deposited and approached the police when the account holders failed to respond to notices ordering them to return the money.
Jaswant, Raj Damania and Poojary are alleged to have lured friends who they knew were account holders at the bank with promises of attractive commissions in exchange for the use of their bank accounts to route the money. The police said that Sankhe had returned the money deposited in his account to the accused in cash after coming to know that his bank account had been misused, while Shah received five per cent of the money deposited in his bank account.
“The accused have been remanded to police custody for three days. We are looking for the other accused,” said inspector Mahesh Shetye of the EOW.