By Our Staff Reporter
NAGERCOIL JAN. 7. The police today arrested three persons, including a bank employee, and recovered Rs. 10.57 lakhs in the State Bank of India embezzlement case here.
The efforts to nab the kingpin, Nasser, and his associates, who had masterminded the cheating operation for about three months, have been intensified, the Superintendent of Police, Sandeep Mittal, told reporters here today.
On verifying the credentials of Nasser — an account holder with the Vadiveeswaram branch — the police found that he had opened an account with the Perumalpuram branch in Tirunelveli district with the help of one Velan, by providing a fake address, and later he shifted the account to the Vadiveeswaram branch. Nasser, Yasin, Ansari and Suresh withdrew Rs. 1.99 crores on 44 occasions between October 1 and December 30 last year.
Claiming himself to be a prosperous businessman, Nasser purportedly told the bankers that he was withdrawing the money to establish a wind turbine and an engineering college in Kanyakumari district. He had also claimed that he had an account with the UCO Bank at Santa Cruz in Mumbai, but investigation revealed that the bank did not have a branch there.
Acting on the complaint preferred by the Vadiveeswaram branch manger, Balaveni, on January 2, probe teams under the Deputy Superintendents of Police, T. Jayachandran and Subbiah, and Inspectors, Chandrapaul, Jayasubramanian and Rajakumar, spread to southern districts and also to Chennai. Interrogation of Velan of Palayamkottai, Sudalaiandi, despatch clerk at the SBI, Vadiveeswaram, and Agasthialingam, a messenger working for a private courier service here, provided some vital clues to the modus operandi.
Nearly Rs. 10.57 lakhs were recovered from Sudalaiandi alone and he was said to have entrusted a sizable portion of the amount with his relatives and repaid his debts amounting to Rs. 98,000.
Mr. Mittal said both Sudalaiandi and Agasthialingam agreed to work for Nasser for a pecuniary consideration and both feigned that the cheques were sent regularly to the service branches in Mumbai and Bangalore and even forged letters favouring grant of withdrawal of money to Nasser and also to the latter’s bearer cheques issued to Ansari, Yasin and Suresh. The police were also probing the involvement of two Nagercoil-based engineers, Mohan and Umapathy, and another person, Gopal, with the gang.
The entire sum of Rs. 10.57 lakhs would be deposited with the Judicial Magistrate court in Tirunelveli, the SP said.
The Kanyakumari district police had announced a reward for providing information leading to the arrest of Nasser and five others. Members of the public could inform the police on telephone number 04652 – 233168. Those who provided information would be appropriately rewarded and his or her identity would be kept a secret.
To a query, the SP said though there were no clues to involvement of any fundamental or terrorist group in the fraud, the police would probe all aspects.