Police arrest three more persons in connection with recent bank heist

Published On: September 27, 2019 07:26 PM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, Sept 27: Police on Friday arrested three more persons in connection with a recent bank heist.

The arrestees have been identified as Mahendra Bhatta, Malatidevi Neupane Bhattarai and Ganesh Bashyal. According to Metropolitan Police, Bhatta and Bhattarai were arrested from Parbat and Bashyal was arrested from Kathmandu.

With this, the number of arrestees has climbed to 16 over the case. SSP Sahakul Thapa told Republica Online that Rs 4.5 million was found to have transferred to Bhatta's bank account while Rs. 2.4 million was transferred to Neupane's account.

Earlier on Thursday, Ramkrishna Bhusal of Syanja was arrested in connection with the same case.

On Wednesday, the police made public Sujan Karki, Nima Tamang, Sanjaya Ghale, Vidya Sagar Lammichhane, Shrawan Kumar Shrestha, Shubankar Panja, Bijaya Shah,Chandra Bahadur Budha, Pushpa Raj Khadka,  Lemang Tamang and Laxmi Tamang of Nuwakot over the case.

They were nabbed from various places of Kathmandu and outside based on the information of a bank staffer who had notified the police after coming across several suspicious transactions.  Police have seized around Rs 5 million from the arrestees.

Police said that the accused had stolen the bank’s online password, transferred the money to several accounts and withdrawn the money from various ATM kiosks across the country. 

Preliminary investigation by police suggested that an African man based in India could be the mastermind of the theft. 

The alleged mastermind, who has been identified as Peter, had pooled Nepali and Indian nationals and provided them with ‘some training’ before using them for banking fraud.  

He would provide somewhere between 15 to 35 percent of the stolen amount in commission to the foot soldiers and transfer the rest to India through hundi, an illegal non-banking channel.

The racket, which is thought to have network across the country, had allegedly planned to steal around Rs 5 billion from various banks by using his contacts in Nepal, police claim. 

Police said that they are also investigating possible involvement of bank staff in the leakage of the password. 

Of late, there has been a marked rise in number of ATM heists and fraud. 

Police earlier this month arrested around a dozen individuals including Chinese nationals for their alleged involvement in stealing millions of rupees from various ATMs in the capital.

Banks and financial institutions have tightened transactions through ATM and imposed an unannounced prohibition from withdrawing money from India.



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