In a major breakthrough, the police arrested the kingpin of the gang that used to rob ATM counters in different parts of the state from Dhanbad railway station on Tuesday night. The accused Sk Kalam, who is a resident of Pilkhana in Howrah, was remanded in the police custody after being produced before the Bankshall Court on Wednesday.
It may be mentioned that a series of incidents of ATM robbery had taken place in Domjur in Howrah, Madhyamgram and Dum Dum in North 24-Parganas, Sinthee in Kolkata and the last incident had taken place at Serampore in Hooghly on Monday.
Investigating officers have calculated that the total amount that has been stolen from the ATMs is more than Rs 1 crore. The city police had been working with proper coordination with their counterparts in Bidhannagar, Barrackpore, Hooghly and Howrah to get a breakthrough and the investigating officers had felt that the same gang was behind all the ATM breaking incidents.
Acting on a tip-off, policemen in plain clothes had conducted a raid at Dhanbad Station and arrested Kalam.
Sources said that he had confessed that he along with his associates from Hyderabad was involved in 13 out of the 14 ATM breaking incidents that took place in the past one month in the state.
As stated by a police officer, a gang of around 10 to 12 people from Hyderabad used to come to the city a day ahead of the incident of ATM breaking and they used to return the same day after committing the crime. Kalam being the local man used to identify the ATM counter that can be looted easily.
The gang was involved in the incident in which Rs 33.82 lakh was looted after breaking an ATM machine of a nationalised bank on Northern Avenue near Seven Tanks Estate at Sinthee.
The police have come to know about the gang when one of their attempts had failed at Jagatdat in North 24-Parganas. They had to flee leaving the gas cutter and their car finding police approaching the ATM counter that they were breaking.
Police had seized the car and got some details about Kalam who had hired the car and it had led to his arrest. Police are yet to recover the money that has been stolen. An officer said that they suspect that some relatives of Kalam can provide information about the stolen money and they have been detained, police said.
It may be recalled that the Bank Fraud section of the Kolkata Police’s detective department had sent letters to all 12 banks those are having their ATMs in the city with a set of recommendations that to be followed first of all to avoid untoward incidents in ATMs and secondly for easy detection of a crime if it takes place despite of taking the measures.