GUWAHATI, Aug 2 - How safe is it to keep money in private banks? Two back-to-back incidents in Guwahati in which employees of such banks were involved in fraudulent transfer of money of depositors, have exposed the loopholes in their security systems.
A week after an ICICI Bank employee was arrested for committing fraud in a customer�s account, police have caught another senior official of a private bank for fraudulently transferring money from a customer�s account.
Shankar Sinha, branch manager of an IndusInd Bank in Gangtok is presently in custody of Paltan Bazar police. His wife Olivia Dutta Choudhury, who is manager (operations) of the IndusInd Bank branch located at Bhangagarh, is said to be absconding.
The fraud came to light after one Dr Biraj Goswami lodged an FIR at Paltan Bazar Police Station alleging that there had been some �unauthorised transactions� in his IndusInd bank account.
As police began investigating the case and questioned some employees of IndusInd Bank�s Bhangagarh branch, the bank staff lodged an FIR against its manager (operations) Olivia Dutta Choudhury, blaming her for the misappropriation. Choudhury is a resident of Baghorbari.
Meanwhile, another victim of the fraud, Malabika Sarma of Fatasil Ambari, lodged an FIR alleging unauthorised transactions in her IndusInd bank account.
�During our investigations, it came to light that some money from Malabika Sarma�s account was transferred through NEFT to the account of Shankar Sinha, which was at the Beltola branch of Bandhan Bank. There were several transactions and Malabika lost nearly Rs 1 crore,� a police official said.
Similarly, Dr Biraj Goswami is reported to have lost around Rs 1.8 lakh. Police said all the transactions were made through NEFT.
Several fictitious accounts were opened and money from depositors� accounts transferred to them. Initial investigations say that more than Rs 2.5 crore was misappropriated from accounts of depositors. The fraudulent transactions were made in June-July
�For such transactions, one needs a cheque. It is strange as to how they could procure a cheque book from the bank in the name of the depositors. They also forged the signatures of the depositors,� a police official said. Police are trying to ascertain the number of fraudulent transactions made and the amount involved. �We also do not rule out involvement of other bank staff in the fraud,� the police said.
A week back, Panbazar police had arrested an employee of ICICI Bank�s AT Road branch, Rajat Agarwal, on charges of transferring around Rs 9.56 lakh from a depositor�s account to another account which was opened fraudulently at the GS Road branch of the Karnataka Bank.