A local court here on Wednesday extended police custody of two of the three accused in the multi-crore debit card scam till June 22. The third accused has already been remanded into police custody till Friday.
The Chief Judicial Magistrate of Vadodara,P G Soni,granted Detection of Crime Branch (DCB) custody of Hemant Panchal and Danbahadur alias Anurag Verma till Friday. Though the probe agency had demanded police remand of the accused for 10 more days,the court rejected the plea and instead granted police custody for two days. The third accused,Ashok Patel,was also remanded into police custody till June 22 by court on Tuesday.
The trio are suspected to have duped a number of nationalised and private banks of crores by manipulating Electronic Data Capturing (EDC) machines installed at their restaurants for online payment of bills. Panchal and Verma were arrested on June 12 after Sharin Thomas of HDFC lodged a complaint with DCB on June 11 alleging that the trio had defrauded the bank to the tune of Rs 50 lakh by manipulating the EDC machines over the last one year.
While Panchal has worked with the HDFC bank and used to install EDC machines,Verma owns six restaurants in the city. Patel also owns two restaurants in Makarpura area.
DCB officials say the trio have duped UCO Bank,Allahabad Bank and Bank of Baroda of more than Rs 4 crore.
They used to withdraw huge amount of money from the accounts of these banks by manipulating tips option in the EDC machines. While in normal circumstances,the amount of tips is to be debited from the account of a customer,the trio used some technique and withdrew the amount from accounts of the host banks of the customers, DCB police inspector Jatin Prajapati said.
The DCB also suspect officials of the banks might have colluded with the accused restaurateurs in the fraud or there can be some lacunae in the electronic transaction systems of the banks.
Police have recovered eight EDC machines from Verma.
As many as 28 restaurateurs of the city are suspected to have been involved in the scam and more arrests are likely in coming days,police officials said.