More arrests likely in CMDRF fund diversion case

Four persons arrested so far in flood relief scam

More people may be involved in the flood relief scam in which money from the Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund (CMDRF) was allegedly diverted, with the C-Branch of the city police likely to implicate at least two more persons, it is learnt.

The investigation team on Thursday arrested one more person, taking the total number of arrested in the case to four. B. Mahesh, a resident of Civil Lane Road and the second accused in the case, was arrested close on the heels of the arrest of a couple, Nithin and Shintu, on Wednesday. Anwar M.M. of Nilampathinjimugal near Kakkanad and the third accused are absconding.

A CMDRF section clerk at the district collectorate and the first accused in the case was arrested earlier this week. The investigation team had also seized the hard disk his official computer and personal laptop.

The Muvattupuzha Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Court has remanded all the four accused in judicial custody.

Meanwhile, it is learnt that the district administration is looking into more CMDRF transactions pertaining to flood relief to ascertain whether more such irregularities had been committed. Besides, the district administration has deputed a team to assist the police in the probe.

The case is that the accused collectively misappropriated ₹10.54 lakh from CMDRF by diverting it through criminal conspiracy. Initially, the Thrikkakara police registered a case on a petition filed by Additional District Magistrate K. Chandrasekharan Nair before it was handed over to the C-Branch. According to the remand report of the first accused submitted by the C-Branch at the Vigilance court, ₹12.94 lakh was misappropriated.

The report said the first accused had shared with the second accused the account numbers to which the transfer of flood relief from the District Collector’s Disaster Management Relief Fund had failed. These account numbers were then tampered with, based on which ₹2.50 lakh each was transferred in two different transactions to an account of the Ayyanad Service Cooperative Bank at the Kakkanad branch of Federal Bank.

The third accused, who was an account holder at the Ayyanad Service Cooperative Bank, then got this amount transferred to his account by producing the Unique Transaction Reference number. He then withdrew ₹2 lakh each over two days and transferred the remaining amount in transactions of ₹49,999 each to accounts held by him and his wife at HDFC Bank.

Later, the first accused transferred ₹2.5 lakh and ₹1.50 lakh to an account at the Kakkanad branch of Dena Bank, which the second accused had shared with the first accused, on January 21. This was followed by another transfer of ₹1.79 lakh to the account of the Ayyanad Service Cooperative Bank at the Kakkanad branch of Federal Bank on January 24.

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Printable version | Jun 4, 2020 5:57:26 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/more-arrests-likely-in-cmdrf-fund-diversion-case/article30994873.ece

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