Shahjahanpur (Uttar Pradesh): Six people have been arrested by the Shahjahanpur police who have seized nearly 500 cloned fingerprints of beneficiaries along with their Aadhaar cards and bank passbooks.
The arrested persons include Gaurav, 26, a graduate who runs a photocopy shop in Kaant area.
Gaurav, who learnt fingerprint cloning using glue-gun and adhesive online, has allegedly hacked nearly 500 bank accounts of the beneficiaries of various government schemes such as PM Kisan Samman Yojana and old age pension in connivance with bank mitras (individuals who act as agents of the bank).
"It takes just Rs5 to clone a fingerprint," Gaurav told the police.
IG Bareilly range, Rajesh Pandey, said, "We are trying to gather more information about such gangs active in the state by sharing the information with headquarters."
The Shahjahanpur police unearthed the racket being run from Jalalabad area of the district after getting repeated complaints from several beneficiaries who had not received money from the government into their bank accounts.
SP, S. Anand, had handed over the case to the crime branch, which found that though the money was credited into the beneficiaries' accounts, it was later withdrawn through Jan Suvidha Kendras being run by bank mitras.
Further investigations revealed the names of Shivram, Sunil Tripathi, Dev Vratt, Sandeep Singh, Shehrun, Rajveer and Hukum Singh, all of whom are bank mitras.
After gathering information, four accused - Shivram, Sunil Tripathi, Dev Vratt and Sandeep Singh - were arrested with cloned fingerprints and several counterfeit stamps, while Gaurav was arrested later.
During interrogation, it was found that Gaurav used to clone fingerprints for the bank mitras using glue-gun and adhesive that would cost him less than Rs 5 per cloning.
Gaurav is suspected to be involved with other gangs in the district as well.
"They used cloned fingerprints to spoof biometrics to carry out financial transactions by hacking bank accounts. Most of the victims are illiterate. The technique used for cloning fingerprints is available online and it is often misused. We will see if such contents can be removed," the IG said.
Rohit Kumar, sub-inspector, crime branch, said, "The accused have been booked under sections 467 (forgery of valuable security, will, etc), 468 (forgery for purpose of cheating), 471 ( using as genuine a forged 1(document or electronic record) and 420 (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property) of the Indian Penal Code at Jalalabad police station."
A cash reward of Rs 25,000 has been announced for the team that cracked the case.