The Pune City Police has recovered Rs 5.72 crore of the Rs 94 crore that was siphoned from Cosmos Cooperative Bank in a malware attack in 2018.
In one of the biggest cyber attacks on an Indian bank, several cloned debit cards of Cosmos Bank headquartered in Pune were used for thousands of ATM transactions in India and 28 other countries over seven hours on August 11, 2018.
While Rs 78 crore was withdrawn in more than 12,000 ATM transactions outside India, another 2,800 transactions were made across the country to the tune of Rs 2.5 crore. On August 13, 2018, Rs 13.92 crore were transferred to a Hong Kong-based entity using the Society for Worldwide Interbank Telecommunications (SWIFT) facility.
Investigation has revealed that the transactions outside India were done through Visa cards while those in India were done through Rupay cards. In total, Rs 94 crore was siphoned off.
A case was registered in this regard at Chaturshringi police station under sections 120 (b), 420, 467, 468, 469, 471, 34 of the Indian Penal Code and sections of the Information Technology (IT) Act.
A press release issued by Deputy Commissioner of Police (cyber) Sambhaji Kadam on Monday said they had contacted Hang Seng Bank in Hong Kong regarding the transfer of Rs 13.92 crore. A complaint in this regard was also lodged with Hong Kong police by Cosmos Bank. The Pune City Police also communicated to the Hong Kong authorities through the External Affairs Ministry regarding the Cosmos Bank cyber attack.
Following this, a new investigating officer was appointed by Hong Kong authorities to look into the case. Pune police shared information about the cyber attack with the investigating officer, the release stated.
Hong Kong police then froze at least Rs 10 crore that was transferred to the Hang Seng bank by the cyber fraudsters. Under instructions of the Pune City Police, Cosmos Bank filed a civil suit in a Hong Kong court. “As per a Hong Kong court order, a first installment of Rs 5,72,95,87 from the total money frozen was returned to Cosmos Bank,” stated the press release.
Senior Police Inspector Jayram Paygude, the investigating officer, said 18 people have been arrested in this case. In December 2018, a special investigation team (SIT) probing this case had filed a 1,700-page chargesheet against nine accused in this case. Later, two supplementary chargesheets were filed for the remaining nine accused.
Police said most of the arrested accused were involved in withdrawing money from various ATMs using cloned cards of Cosmos Bank under instructions of their handlers. Police suspect that the racketeers gave the suspects part of the money they withdrew from the ATMs as commission. Police said four people are wanted in this case of whom three, Kunal Shukla, Abdul Bhai and Sumer Shaikh, are suspected to be in Dubai.
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