With no material evidence provided by security agencies of Bulgaria and Greece,the Mumbai Police has been unable to conclude the money trail in the Axis Bank skimming probe. In a 400-page chargesheet filed in court last week,the investigators have only been able to explain the money trail within the Indian banking jurisdiction,after the police scrutinised the CCTV footage from the Colaba-based ATM,where the skimming device was inserted.
The police said the CCTV images now form the most crucial evidence against two Bulgarian nationals,Tsenev Yulian Georgiev (27) and Elin Pelin (26),shown as wanted accused in the chargesheet. They have been accused of withdrawing money from eight accounts in Greece.
As many as 37 bank accounts were hacked and Rs 22.45 lakh stolen from the Axis bank ATM,outside the State Police Headquarters in Colaba,in June. Of the accounts hacked,10 belonged to police personnel,who lost their money after data and money were allegedly transferred to several bogus accounts in Greece and Bulgaria,from where the money was later withdrawn.
The chargesheet has named nine persons as witnesses. The police have also filed copies of official letters and repeated reminders sent to their counterparts in foreign countries through the crime branchs extradition cell. Among the letters filed and taken on record include the profiles of the two accused when they were in India with requests for their background and nationality from Bulgarian government offices.
Police officials said they filed the chargesheet showing the accused as wanted accused as the legal deadline for filing a red corner notice was drawing to a close.
While a blue corner seeking details of the accused was already issued,the police have now submitted in court all the necessary communication required for red corner notice seeking the arrest of the two Bulgarians. We have begun the proceedings for the extradition of the two men from Bulgaria, said Krishna Prakash,ACP (south region).
Officials said repeated requests to Greece banks through banking channels to help release the CCTV footage of the eight ATMs also failed. The Greece embassy had not responded to details of their stay in hotels there,Prakash added.
Our investigation has revealed that the two Bulgarians are in their early thirties. They inserted skimming device in four ATMs in south and central Mumbai,with the Colaba ATM tampered twice,between April 7 and 19. They stayed at four hotels in south Mumbai during their one-month stay in the city. We have identified the two ATM care takers and hotel staffers of the four hotels as witnesses in this case, Prakash said.