Lucknow: An attempt to steal Rs 146 crore from a Uttar Pradesh Cooperative Bank Limited in Lucknow was thwarted by an alert staff.
Cyber hackers were attempting to steal the money in connivance with a former employee of the bank.
The bank MD has lodged an FIR with the cyber cell of the Uttar Pradesh Police and suspended 10 officials, including Hazratganj branch manager, cashier and a guard.
A senior bank official said that the security agency has been blacklisted.
Two retired bank officials, R.S. Dubey and G.S. Chauhan, have been detained and an audit from the I-T Department has also been sought.
As per preliminary probe, the hackers infiltrated the security system of the Hazratganj branch of the bank and tried to steal the money.
The attempted heist came to fore when branch officials suddenly noticed an online debit of Rs 146 crore from the bank account to seven different accounts in other banks.
Officials blocked the funds right on time and foiled the cyber criminals’ attempt to defraud the bank.
After blocking the fund, officials contacted higher authorities and the funds were immediately frozen, and the transactions cancelled.
According to sources, the role of a former employee of the cooperative bank has come under scrutiny. This former employee is said to have arrived at the bank branch with an unidentified person and allegedly tampered the system.
The IDs of two UPCB employees were used to transfer crores of rupees online. The police are also questioning three employees.
Superintendent of Police, Cyber Cell, Triveni Singh, said that a forensic audit of the computers used for transactions will be done by experts.
“All the systems were password protected which seems to have been compromised and hence the role of other employees is also under scanner,” said Singh.
Those suspended include General Manager (GM) Ashok Kumar, GM (finance) K.D Pathak, deputy GM Rajnath Singh, assistant GM Vivek Singh, Dhruv Raj Singh, manager Mewalal, assistant manager Ajay Kumar, assistant manager (RTGS Cell) Ajay, Cashier Vikas Kumar Pandey and guard Vijay Bahadur Maurya.
According to V.K. Mishra, general manager of UPCB, the unidentified accused breached the online security system of the bank and siphoned off Rs 72 crore from the official account of the bank on October 15.
However, the withdrawal was timely detected by bank officials and the money was saved by freezing the account.
Another attempt to siphon off Rs 74 crore from the same bank account was also prevented before the hackers could complete the second transaction.
“The bank money is safe. The accused were not able to extract even a paisa,” said Mishra.
Following the two consecutive breach attempts, bank officials got an FIR lodged against unidentified people with the cyber crime cell.
Mishra said: “It has come to our knowledge that the retired bank manager along with his aide visited the building of the bank’s head office in Hazratganj around 8.30 am on Saturday, the day when the online breach attempt was made. They were chased by security guard Shailendra Kumar after he found them carrying out some suspicious activity. It is worth mentioning that no bank employees were present on the day.”
N. Kolanachi, DIG, cyber crime cell, said: “What’s most surprising is that the criminals were aware of the password of the bank’s account. Our team is trying to confirm whether the system was hacked or the password was compromised. As the probe progresses, things will get clearer within 2-3 days.”