A Romanian national, caught while attempting to withdraw money from a Canara Bank ATM using over 50 cloned debit cards of various bank account holders in Uttar Pradesh in 2018, was convicted, along with one more accused, by a metropolitan magistrate’s court recently.
Carivan Ayon Mariyan (50), was sentenced to seven years in jail after he was found guilty under charges including cheating and forgery, as well as under other relevant sections of the Information Technology Act.
Mariyan’s co-accused, Irshad Totathai, a resident of Mumbai, was let off with a fine of Rs 40,000 for providing SIM cards to the Romanian national without valid documents.
In November 2018, two residents of Vikhroli had alerted police after they noticed the same person visiting an ATM twice in two days. They said a foreigner was seen at a Canara Bank ATM, and that he wore a cap and mask to cover his head and face. This led to the suspicion that he had been trying to evade being captured in CCTV footage. A constable from Parksite police station confronted the suspect at the ATM, but the latter tried to flee. He was caught, and after a search, 53 cloned debit cards and Rs 3.71 lakh were recovered from him.
The prosecution submitted to the court that Mariyan had managed to procure the cards without relevant documents through his co-accused, Totathai.
Police said Mariyan also had four previous cases registered against him in UP. The court was told he had stolen data of bank details, including passwords of various customers, by installing a skimming device at an ATM near Vikhroli railway station, and that he used cloned cards to withdraw money from their accounts.
The accused, through his lawyer, said the case could not be conclusively proven against him, as the police had failed to record testimonies of bank account holders who had lost their money. However, the prosecution claimed that Mariyan had not been able to explain the possession of a large number of debit cards of Indian citizens with him. “Accused no.1 (Mariyan) is a Romanian citizen, and more than 48 debit and credit cards belonging to Indian citizens were found in his possession,” the court said. “There is no material brought by him that he had authority to use these cards for withdrawal of the amount, nor is it in his defence that he withdrew the amount for the benefit of those account holders.”
The court said the defence of the accused — that CCTV footage had not been produced — was not valid grounds, as witnesses who had alerted police had testified and identified Mariyan as the one who used the ATM. The court also said that while there was no evidence that Totathai had received any of the fraud amount, he had provided SIM cards without valid documents to Mariyan, and thus imposing a fine on him would suffice as punishment.
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