MUMBAI: Ankur Korane was at his office in Mulund on Thursday morning when his mobile began buzzing with texts. The first message at 9.15am declared that Rs 12 lakh had been transferred out electronically from his bank account — a transaction he knew nothing of. The next text informed of a transfer of Rs 5 lakh, the third of a debit of Rs 15 lakh. By 10am, Korane had received 12 such texts. Within mere 45 minutes, Rs 1 crore was stolen from his account.

A director in a cosmetic company, 29-year-old Korane has filed a complaint with Mulund police about the fraudulent transactions. A first information report has been registered for cheating and impersonation under sections of the Information Technology Act and the Indian Penal Code.

"The money was transferred in 12 transactions from the victim's bank account, Mulund branch, using Real Time Gross Settlement system," said additional commissioner of police (east region) Quaiser Khalid. In each transaction, the money was sent to a different account in the country.

The Mulund police admitted that they are so far in the dark on how the crime was perpetrated, though they suspect that Korane's e-banking details such as username and password were stolen and used for the fraud. The case, they said, will be transferred to the cyber crime cell and the economic offences wing of the Mumbai police.

In his complaint, Korane alleged that when he "contacted the bank to freeze further transactions from my account, it asked that he first submit a police FIR". Still shaken on Friday, Korane refused to discuss the crime's details, only saying that he is "running around the police station, helping cops in their probe".

The police have directed the bank to provide the details of the 12 accounts where Rs 1 crore was directed. "We have also ordered a halt on transactions from Korane's account to protect the Rs 60 lakh that remains there and was not siphoned off during the fraudulent transactions," said senior inspector Jivajirao Jadhav.

A bank spokesperson told TOI: "Investigations are currently being conducted by the concerned authorities. The bank is extending all necessary cooperation."

When informed about the crime, cyber expert Vijay Mukhi explained that a bank account can be hacked in various ways. A user's online banking username and password can fall "into wrong hands if stored on a computer, a cellphone or scribbled on a piece of paper". "Hackers send out viruses to steal passwords from computers. They also dispatch spam emails, which ask for banking passwords," Mukhi said.