- Abhijit Nath, NET Correspondent, Tripura
Agartala, January 20, 2022 : A Turkish national Hakan Zanburkan (54) has been apprehended in Bangladesh on Tuesday by the Counter-Terrorism and Transnational Crime Unit of Dhaka Metropolitan Police.
On July 9, 2021, Hakan escaped from Agartala Government Medical College (AGMC) and Govind Ballabh Pant (GBP) Hospital here in Agartala with the help of local Tripura people.
Along with him, another member of an international ATM card cloning syndicate was arrested in Bangladesh, said a police official here at Agartala on Thursday.
The under-trial Hakan had escaped through a window of the washroom at AGMC and GBP Hospital here in Agartala taking advantage of security lapses during a health check-up.
Zanburkan was one of four foreign nationals – two belonging to Turkey and two from Bangladesh – arrested in November 2019 at Belgharia in suburban Kolkata in connection with the hacking of a few hundred Indian bank accounts including cloning of ATM cards of about 60 SBI customers of Tripura.
The Crime Branch of Assam Police issued a lookout notice against Zanburkan with the report of large-scale hacking of bank accounts in Tripura.
From six cities of India including Agartala, the four hackers responsible for looting money from ATM accounts of private individuals were arrested by a team from the Cyber Cell of Kolkata Police.
It is reported that crores of rupees from more than 1,788 bank accounts from different cities of India had been withdrawn by these hackers. Compromising the security of different banks, about Rs 1.19 crore was looted from account holders of Tripura in two days.
Later in 2020, they were brought to Agartala 2020 and put in prison.
The police official said “At least 17 cards including 15 clone cards, five mobile phone sets, and one laptop were seized from their possessions. They were found making at least 84 attempts to withdraw money from various booths of Eastern Bank Ltd of Bangladesh by cloning credit cards of foreign citizens of 40 countries, including Australia, New Zealand, USA, India, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Austria, Germany, Vietnam, United Kingdom, Canada, Bolivia, Spain, Finland and Norway from January 02 – 04 last.”
Escaping from Tripura with the help of an Indian, Zanburkan went to Nepal via Sikkim. From there, he collected travel documents and returned to Turkey in September last year. He had gone to Dhaka on December 31, 2022, and stayed in a hotel in the Gulshan area of Dhaka from where he was arrested by the Counter-Terrorism and Transnational Crime Unit of Dhaka Metropolitan Police.
A two-member inquiry commission headed by retired High Court judge of Tripura Justice S C Das as the chairman and Dr. BK Kilikdar as a member investigated the escape of undertrial Zanburkan.
Tripura Police found 10 people involved in this case and they are being interrogated. After questioning them, police arrested Sukhen Bhowmik and Badal Banik. Later, police also arrested Sumit Banik, Omar Sharif, Fata Al Demir, Mohammad Hannan, Rakibul Islam, Swarna Kumar Tripura, and Mithun Bhowmik. Apart from Mithun, the other six accused are in a correctional home.
Police have remanded them in custody from the Central Correctional Home. Police investigation revealed that Hakan had communicated with Swarnakumar Tripura who was also in jail but released a few days ago. Hakan had used a Bangladesh SIM card with the internet, which he allegedly got through jail staff. The ATM hacker has crossed over to the Bangladesh border with the help of a woman.