The Central Bureau of Investigation, Visakhapatnam Branch, has appealed to the public to submit any clues about the whereabouts of Pothina Nageswara Rao alias Nagesh Babu, who reportedly tried to defraud the Dwaraka Nagar branch of UCO Bank to the tune of Rs.353 crores.

In a statement issued on Friday, CBI DIG G. Nageswara Rao said that Nagesh had gone into hiding after the CBI registered a case a few days ago. He said that searches conducted at Nagesh's residence on Thursday revealed that he had gone underground.

He announced that anyone giving information leading to the arrest of Nagesh would be given a reward of Rs.10,000 and the details of the informant would be kept a secret.

A manager of the Dwarakanagar branch of UCO Bank and two employees of a private construction firm were arrested by the CBI here on Thursday for their alleged involvement in trying to defraud the bank to the tune of Rs.353 crore.

Nagesh floated Pothina Tech Constructions on March 15 and opened a current account with the bank in the name of the firm. His staff members A. Naga Kiran and P. Kiran befriended the Manager Jadu Mani Soren and another bank employee M. Sivalingam. They persuaded Mr. Soren to transfer Rs.353,61,35,899 into the firm's account by debiting the suspense account of the bank. Mr. Nagesh presented a cheque for the amount drawn on the IDBI branch, Vijayawada, and issued by one of his clients in Vijayawada, Athota Prasad. The amount, even though credited to his account, was frozen and not allowed to be withdrawn.  

The CBI DIG said that the accused had promised to give Rs.4 lakh to Rs.5 lakh to Mr. Soren for his “service”.

The transfer of money from the Suspense Account was done on March 23 and it was detected by the Bank's Zonal Manager R. Mughundan during a routine check on the next day.

Mr. Mughundan in a statement assured the bank customers that the bank had not suffered any loss and it had taken all preventive measures.

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