Special task force busts gang involved in cheque cloning, 3 held
Two employees of different banks and a postman were part of this gang
LUCKNOW:The Special Task Force (STF) busted a cheque cloning gang on Friday and arrested three persons including an employee of a nationalised bank.
Mastermind of the gang, Aditya Shukla of Kanpur, was arrested from his home town while one Jagdeep Mishra was arrested from Lucknow. In the past, the duo had been sent to prison in Allahabad for a similar offence.
The third accused, Ajay Singh Yadav, working as an office assistant with SBI Basela branch (Hamirpur), was arrested from Hamirpur.
Other members of the gang, including Prem Vajpayee, an employee of Bank of Baroda (Kanpur) and postman Gopal Babu were absconding.
The cops recovered Rs 14.80 lakh, 159 used cheques of SBI and Central Bank, 101 Aadhaar cards, 44 cheque books of various
banks, 37 blank cheque leaflets of various banks, 14 rubber stamps, a laptop, printer, one pistol of 0.32 bore and six live cartridges among other things from the accused.
The gang prepared 13 cloned cheques of SBI, Hazratganj branch, Lucknow and had six of them cleared successfully. Similarly, they also withdrew cash from various branches of SBI in Kanpur, Kannauj and Unnao with the help of cloned cheques, said police.
According to STF officials, the gang spotted loopholes in the cheque truncation system/ image-based clearing system of cheques implemented by the RBI from August 1, 2013.
After implementation of this system, cheques are no longer sent for clearance and only their digital images are sent.
This system was implemented to cut down time required in clearances of cheques. It also helped banks in maintaining data of cheques cleared through centralised image archival sys- tem.
“When cheques were sent physically for clearance, experienced employees of banks used to easily find out whether they were genuine or not just by holding them,” said Vimal Gautam, inspector, STF.
“But this procedure stopped altogether after digital clearance of cheques was introduced. This paved way for fraudsters to use cloned cheques to withdraw money from bank accounts,” added Gautam.
With the help of Ajay Singh Yadav, an SBI employee, the gang used to collect bank details of account holders, including name of account holder, account number, cheque details and balance in account.
During interrogation, Yadav informed cops that the gang used to procure cheque books of various banks from postman Gopal Babu after paying him some cash.
These cheque books were issued by banks to their customers and delivered by post. The gang used to prepare cloned cheques with the help of printers and laptops and filled in details of account holders that they procured with the help of bank employees who were members of the gang.