Manipal group’s DGM arrested on fraud charge

The Deputy General Manager (Finance) of Manipal Education and Medical Group in Bengaluru has been arrested for siphoning over ₹62 crore from the company’s account with the help of his wife and a former colleague.

The police have arrested four people: DGM (Finance) and chartered accountant Sandeep Gururaj, 38; his wife Charusmita, 30, who is accused of starting a company into which a part of the stolen funds was transferred; Amrita Chengappa, 34, who lives in Andheri (W) in Mumbai; and her mother Meera Chengappa, 59, from Koramangala.

The money was also transferred to various accounts held by them as well as to Amrita’s brother, who works as a pilot with Qatar Airways and lives in Dubai. “We have issued a look-out notice for the pilot and he will be soon arrested,” said D. Devaraju, DCP Central Division.

The arrests were made on the basis of a complaint lodged by the chairman of the group, Ranjan Pai, with the Cubbon Park police.

According to the police, Sandeep, who had been with the group since the age of 23, had earned the trust of his chairman Ranjan Pai and his wife Shruthi Pai. He was authorised to oversee online cash transactions on behalf of the company. “When huge amounts needed to be transferred, the approval of the chairman over a voice confirmation was mandatory,” the police said.

The Pais learnt about the embezzlement of funds recently after ₹3.5 crore was transferred to a Dubai-based company from one of their accounts in Mauritius without the requisite voice-confirmation approval.

“They then learnt that Sandeep had mailed the bank stating the chairman was busy with board meetings and the voice approval could be taken later after the transaction was done. This raised suspicions and the Pais went through the audit reports of their company. It was then that they found multiple misappropriations by Sandeep who had forged the signatures of board members,” said the police.

Unknown accounts

They learnt that many transactions, each of ₹10 lakh, had been made on several occasions and the cash was transferred to unknown accounts. It was then that the couple approached the Cubbon Park police.

Loyal’ employee

The police learned that Sandeep had been siphoning money from the group for the past three years, and had floated a fake company named Sanctum in his name. He also floated another fake company in his wife Charusmitha’s name called Beehives and transferred ₹7.65 crore into her account from Manipal’s account.

Investigation so far revealed, Sandeep had transferred ₹18.87 crore from the Manipal International Institution’s account in Mauritius to a Dubai-based fake company named Vedanta General Trading company which was in the name of Vishal Somanna, the pilot.

“The purpose of the bank transactions was shown as consultancy service charges based on an MoU between the two companies,” said D. Devaraju, DCP Central Division Devaraju.

The police then learnt that Vishal Somanna had transferred ₹8 crore to his mother Meera Chengappa’s bank account in Koramangala. He had also transferred funds to his sister Amrita.

The police suspect that Sandeep and Amrita were having an affair. “She led a lavish life, shopped in Paris and went on holidays to exotic locations all over the world. Sandeep would foot the bills,” a senior police officer said.

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Printable version | Sep 19, 2022 1:01:15 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/manipal-groups-dgm-arrested-on-fraud-charge/article25935146.ece