Tamil Nadu

Frauds totalling ₹100 crore detected at two public sector banks

Frauds involving bulk deposits amounting to almost ₹ 100 crore have been detected in two separate transactions at Canara Bank and Indian Bank.

At Canara Bank, the fraud amounting to ₹ 47.17 crore involving a bulk deposit of a government organisation was detected, following which the bank advised its branches to exercise utmost caution while handling government deposits.

An inter-office memorandum issued by Canara Bank explained the modus operandi. According to it, one of its branches in Bengaluru got a lead for canvassing a bulk deposit of ₹100 crore from a government organisation. After confirming the interest rate for one year and one day, the bank got a transfer of ₹100 crore from another bank on 18.11.2019.

Immediately after the transfer of the ₹ 100 crore, a person purported to be the Accounts Officer (Finance) approached the branch with a letter to open a fixed deposit for ₹50 crore and requested the opening of a current account with the necessary documents, for crediting the balance amount of ₹50 crore.

After the ₹50 crore amount was credited to the current account, the Accounts Officer (Finance), who was the authorised signatory to the said account, transferred amounts totalling ₹47.17 crore to individuals/firms at various bank branches of Axis Bank, Canara Bank, ICICI Bank and Indian Overseas Bank in Chennai through 97 RTGS transactions of ₹48,62,500 each between 20.11.2019 and 05.12.2019.

Canara Bank said the fraud came to light after some other middleman approached the branch to arrange another ₹250 crore bulk deposit and open a fixed deposit and current account similar to the earlier transaction.

The branch got suspicious about the earlier transaction and enquired with the government organisation, which informed that they had not given instructions to open a current account and that they had received two fixed deposit receipts of ₹50 crore each, the bank said.

Fabricated accounts

From the current account, ₹47 crore had been transferred to various accounts within about 10 days and subsequently it came to light that the current account was opened by submitting fabricated documents and the amount was siphoned off by fraudsters, it said in the inter-office memorandum.

Its investigation also showed that the fixed deposit receipts were not genuine.

Canara Bank noted that the original instruction was to keep the entire amount in fixed deposit for one year, one day. However, it said the branch had not ensured the genuineness of the subsequent communications received to open a current account and transfer funds from the account.

The branch had not checked up with the department while money was getting transferred through many cheques.

“Do not entertain middlemen. Documents/communications sent through messengers should not be relied on. Branch should directly deal with the official incharge of the department,” the bank said.

Police officials in Chennai said they had not received any complaints relating to Canara Bank, but said they had received a complaint about a similar fraud transaction amounting to ₹ 50 crore. The parties were Chennai Port Trust and Indian Bank, and since the amount involved was over ₹ 3 crore, the case had been transferred to the CBI. Indian Bank officials said an internal investigation was under way and corrective action was being taken, while Chennai Port Trust officials declined to comment.

(With inputs from Sanjay Vijayakumar, Sunitha Sekar and R. Sivaraman)

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Printable version | Aug 13, 2020 4:07:14 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/frauds-totalling-100-cr-detected-at-two-public-sector-banks/article31836754.ece

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