PNB fraud: efforts on to recover transaction details of accused

Investigation team yet to be clear about other bank accounts the accused had misused to keep the stolen money

December 05, 2022 07:41 pm | Updated December 06, 2022 07:49 am IST - Kozhikode

A pigeon flies past the logo of Punjab National Bank.

A pigeon flies past the logo of Punjab National Bank. | Photo Credit: Reuters

The district Crime Branch squad has started measures to retrieve the banking transaction details of M.P. Rijil, the suspect in the multi-crore banking fraud, at the Punjab National Bank (PNB) in which the City corporation reportedly lost ₹15.24 crore. Some of the personal accounts of his family members that were used to credit the swindled funds will also be examined.

With the latest details submitted by the audit wing of PNB to the investigation team, the bank has confirmed the loss of ₹21.5 crore in the fraud. Though three cases have already been registered as part of the probe, many of the private account holders who reportedly lost money are yet to file petitions. The details of such account holders have also been kept confidential by the bank authorities.

As part of the efforts to verify the contradictions in the statements of the corporation authorities over the lost amount, the Crime Branch team led by Assistant Commissioner T.A. Antony visited the PNB branch on Link Road along with the corporation’s audit team to carry out detailed inspections. Several documents were examined in the presence of the officials to bring clarity on the total amount lost from the seven accounts of the corporation.

According to the corporation authorities, the total amount lost from their accounts was ₹15.24 crore. Whereas the bank authorities found that the total funds lost was ₹12 crore. It is likely to take a couple of days for the complete verification of the transaction details to validate the claim.

There is also no clarity about the left out funds in Rijil’s account though he is suspected of using it for various expensive online games and investing it in the share market. Efforts are yet to be taken to freeze his accounts. The investigation team is yet to be clear about the other bank accounts he misused to keep the stolen money.

Based on preliminary investigations, it is learnt that the former bank manager used about ₹9 crore for various online games. Reports have also confirmed that a portion of the stolen funds was spent for the construction of his house at Kattangal near Mukkom. The recovery of the amount is likely to be a herculean task for the bank authorities as the investigation is still in its infancy.

Meanwhile, Crime Branch sources said the available details, including the latest audit report on the lost funds, were handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation by the bank as part of complying with the national banking rules. “CBI is also likely to quiz the suspects on completion of the ongoing verification of various files and the statement of the bank authorities,” they said.

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