ANDHRA PRADESH

Man held on charge of cheating banks

VISAKHAPATNAM, FEB. 26. A person, accused of cheating 10 banks, insurance firms and financial institutions in Visakhapatnam and Hyderabad of nearly Rs. 1 crore and absconding for the last one year, was arrested by the city police on Friday.

Murusupalli Sudhakara Rao (37), a resident of Nallakunta in Hyderabad, had allegedly obtained loans from banks and other institutions by producing forged and fake documents, in some cases in the names of deceased persons, the Commissioner of Police, B. Prasada Rao, said at a press conference here.

A native of Nandivelugu mandal in Guntur district, Rao's property was attached and prosecution launched following his failure to repay Bank of Baroda (BoB) the Rs.18 lakhs loan he had taken for his pipe factory.

The institutions reportedly cheated by Rao between 1998 and 2002 to the tune of Rs.90.70 lakhs were BoB in Hyderabad and Union Bank of India, HSBC, LIC Housing Finance, HDFC Bank, State Bank of Travancore, State Bank of Patiala, Andhra Bank (Maharanipeta branch), General Insurance Corporation and Mittal Finance Company -- all in Visakhapatnam.

He had bar-cum-restaurants at Country Club and in Dwaraka Nagar with loans taken from these institutions, it is said. Rao was arrested by the CBI in 2000 in connection with the Union Bank of India case after he closed a steel tube unit in Ranasthalam (Srikakulam district) without paying instalments for the loan of Rs.30 lakhs. He was also arrested by the III Town police on the charge of cheating Mittal company for Rs.4 lakhs by forging the signature of a deceased woman with the help of her son.

The Commissioner said Rao, now on bail, would be arrested in these cases also. The police would look into the laxity of banks, which should verify all documents and do physical verification before issuing a loan, was obvious, he said. The investigation by the police would look into this angle too, he added.