After being on the run for over six years, a 48-year-old manager of a housing finance company has finally been arrested by the Economic Offences Wing of Delhi Police on the charge of duping his employer to the tune of Rs.1.5 crore by providing loans to fake borrowers, including non-existent ones, on the basis of forged documents. The accused also duped some applicants who were not aware that he used their documents to secure loans.

It was on this Friday (March 29) that law finally caught up with Vishwanath Tantri, who worked as a manager at the Bangalore branch of the Maharishi Housing Development Finance Corporation (MHDFC) between 1997 to 2005 and had been declared a proclaimed offender in eight cases of financial fraud.

Joint Commissioner of Police Sandeep Goel said the accused had provided housing loans to a large number of borrowers for the purpose of either purchase of a house/land/plot or construction of houses on vacant plots in Bangalore and surrounding districts in Karnataka.

“The loans varied from Rs. 3 lakh to 5 lakh for each borrower and were all disbursed through the Head Office of the complainant bank situated in Delhi. Initially, both fake as well as genuine borrowers were first made members of one credit co-operative society. The loan cheques issued in the borrower’s name by MHDFC were deposited in the account of the society in the bank. These were encashed by Tantri and his associates through the withdrawal forms in the borrower’s name,” said Mr. Goel.

After an internal inquiry, MHDFC got a total 36 cases of cheating and forgery registered at Sarita Vihar police station in November 2006 and subsequently the case was transferred to EOW in 2009.

However, all this while Tantri continued to evade arrest. Mr. Goel said that he had been declared a ‘Proclaimed Offender’ in eight of the 35 cases against him and a reward of Rs.50,000 had also been declared on him.

“A police team kept a constant vigil at his house in Bangalore and when he came home during the Easter weekend holidays, he was arrested,” he said.

In the period Tantri was absconding, which stretches over six years, he worked as an agent for some construction companies in Bangalore and neighbouring areas where he convinced customers to buy houses and charged a commission on the houses sold. His family, in the interim, pleaded ignorance about his whereabouts and told the police that he had gone to Mumbai and his exact address was not known to them.