TWO OUT of four Canara Bank ATMS in which skimming devices were found installed, were completely unguarded booths. And though the other two had caretakers, they were on duty only between 10 pm and 6 am. The unguarded ATM booths are the ones in Sector 35 and Manimajra, while the two with the limited hours’ caretakers are the ones in Mohali Phase-6 and Sector 17, Chandigarh.
The initial investigation has shown two unidentified men, one wearing a cap, installing the skimming devices, including a battery-operated camera and one card reader in ATM machines between 7:25 am and 8:25 am on August 4, according to police sources.
“At 7:25 am the devices were installed in ATM booth in Sector 17 and at 8:25 am in ATM booth at Phase 6 in Mohali. The management of Canara Bank said that theses booths did not have 24-hour security guards. The caretakers came for duty at 10 pm and left at 6 am,” said an official.
Three skimming devices, in Sector 17, Sector 35, and Mohali Phase 6, were detected on August 4 by currency loaders. The fourth one, at Manimajra, was detected on August 6, after an alert was sounded over the detection of the other three.
The police lodged a second FIR on Tuesday relating to the Manimajra ATM on a complaint by the Canara Bank management. The first one was registered on Sunday at Sector 36 police station, relating to the skimming devices found in ATMs in sectors 17 and 35. No FIR has been registered yet in the Mohali incident. Police said they were still investigating the complaint.
A Canara Bank official confirmed that the four booths were unguarded. “We have no security guard at any of the ATM booths in which skimming devices were found. Although we have deputed caretakers at two of the ATM booths out of four, their duty is from 10 pm to 6 pm. The CCTV cameras show some men fixing the skimming devices at two ATM booths during the morning hours when no caretaker was present outside the ATM booth. We are checking the footage of ATM booth in Sector 35 and Manimajra to ascertain when the skimming devices were installed on these ATM machines,” said Assistant General Manager, Canara Bank, Sohan Lal.
A senior police officer, who is monitoring the investigation, said, “The maintenance of ATM booths, including the loading of cash in the machines and preserving the footage of CCTV camera, was outsourced to two private companies by the management of Canara Bank. Police are also in touch with the two companies.”
The general manager, Canara Bank, Sector 34, Jagjeet Singh, said, “The skimming devices, including a battery-operated camera and card reader, were noticed by the staff members who had gone to Sector 35-based ATM booth for uploading the cash in the ATM. The staff members sounded an alert and we examined all the ATM booths of Canara Bank in Tricity and found devices in three other ATMs.”
Sector 36 SHO Rananjot Singh said the police had advised the bank management to deploy security guards at all times outside all their ATM booths.