Free Press Journal

Mumbai: WhatsApp helps to identify, nab crook


Bhayandar: In a prize catch for the Mira Road Police, a notorious crook was held for his involvement in duping several people by withdrawing money from their accounts on the pretext of helping them use the ATMs.

Interestingly, WhatsApp played a major role in identifying the thief. Armed with just the CCTV footage of the suspect, a team led by PSI Mahesh Kuchekar and policeman Vijay Brahmne under the supervision of Senior Inspector Jagdish Patil analyzed thousands of data to narrow down their search to a couple of suspects.

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Later, the team managed to obtain photographs of the suspects from their WhatsApp profile and tracked the accused identified as Raju Hasmukh Bhatt (29) from a beer bar in Mumbai Central on Thursday. The action came after an ex-military was duped of Rs 40,000 at an ATM located on Mira Road on March 31.

Explaining the modus operandi of the accused, PSI Kuchekar said, “Under the pretext of offering help, the accused kept observing the PIN the victim was entering in the system before replacing the card with a swift sleight of hand and using the card to make fraudulent withdrawals.” The accused splurged the spoils on dance bars and to fund his own lavish lifestyle.

Not ruling out his involvement in multiple cases in and around the region, the accused is being interrogated. As of now, he has owned up to three similar offences in the Mira Road division, police said, appealing to people not to entertain strangers while carrying out transactions at ATM booths. Booked under Section 420 of the IPC, the accused has been remanded in police custody till May 22.