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Net con duo in net, associates missing

14 February 2007

Bhubaneswar: Rourkela police busted a racket involving an online fraud worth Rs 12.5 lakh. The modus operandi of the accused was to hack into the eBay India website and make purchases in the names of credit cardholders.

Two persons, including alleged mastermind Debasis Pandit, a BCA student, were arrested and forwarded to the court of the subdivisional judicial magistrate, Rourkela. The other arrested person is Rabi Narayan Sahu.

Superintendent of police D.S. Kutty said the duo was later remanded in judicial custody but four other persons allegedly involved in the racket were untraceable.

A case has been registered against the accused under Sections 420 and 34 of the Indian Penal Code and Section 66 of the IT Act and further investigation is on, he said.

While Pandit, son of a retired employee of Rourkela Steel Plant, was arrested from his Sector VII residence last night, Sahu, his associate and a constable, was nabbed at his house in Uditnagar.

Pandit allegedly hacked into the eBay India site and gathered the details of around 700 credit cardholders. He then made purchases by using their passwords.

The fraud came to the notice of eBay officials when it was detected that several purchases were made from Rourkela while the customers were based in cities such as Bangalore, Baroda and Jaipur and even London, said V. Naini, deputy manager of eBay.

The company brought the matter to the notice of Rourkela police after some customers lodged complaints.

Pandit used the address of Sahu for delivery of the purchased goods, said police. The gang was involved in train, flight and hotel reservations.

The hand of one Satya Samal, recently arrested in Bangalore, is suspected in the crime. Samal had booked a room in a Bangalore hotel for three months. The hotel and transport bills rose to Rs 5 lakh, which he did not pay.

Samal was arrested for non-payment of bills, following which Pandit rushed to Bangalore and stood guarantor for his release on bail, police sources said.

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