In a startling revelation, a Citibank customer, who was duped out of about Rs 11 crore in the recent Rs 300-crore fraud at the bank, has claimed that senior executives offered him money to settle the issue and not go to the police. Citibank, however, denied the allegation.
Sanjeev Aggarwal, a well-known serial entrepreneur, currently managing director of venture capital firm Helion Advisors and founder & former CEO of BPO Daksh, which was sold to IBM, told HT: “We didn’t discuss specific amounts but ever since the fraud came to light, top Citibank officials have been in constant touch with me for a settlement.”
Aggarwal had on Tuesday filed a complaint with the Gurgaon police against top Citibank officials, including its Indian-born CEO Vikram Pandit.
Denying the charge, a Citibank spokesperson said: “As this individual knows well, Citi identified the fraud and immediately reported the matter to the regulators and law enforcement agencies. His claims against senior executives are completely without basis and we intend to contest them vigorously.”
Aggarwal, who called the fraud a “systems failure”, said: “I trusted Citibank with my life’s savings, which have now been wiped out. It is impossible for an employee to undertake fraud of such a scale, without the knowledge of the bank.”
The perpetrator of the fraud, Shivraj Puri, he said, was introduced to him in 2007 “and senior officers of Citibank were with him at that time”.
Since then, whenever Puri visited him at his office, he was accompanied by senior colleagues. “However, he started visiting me alone over the past one year,” Aggarwal said.
In the second week of December 2010, Aggarwal received a call from the bank saying that his relationship manager had gone on leave. That was the first time he checked his account statements and found a discrepancy of about Rs 11 crore, he said.
His two goals now, he added, are to “get back my hard-earned savings and make Citibank own responsibility for the fraud”.