The Indian Air Force (IAF) has been conned.
In a bank fraud perpetrated throughout the country with the help of just 15 forged cheques, a group of fraudsters has been well on its way to cheat the IAF almost to the tune of Rs 50 lakh since June 4.
"The cheaters have presented cheques amounting to Rs 48,41,900 with forged signatures to various branches of the Canara bank to withdraw money from the IAF's public fund that is operated from Delhi," said a senior IAF spokesperson requesting anonymity.
The fraud was detected by the IAF's Central Accounts Office recently.
"The gang would operate as retired IAF officers, present the cheques to a particular branch of the bank throughout the country and flee with the cash. They have so far succeeded in acquiring around Rs 14 lakh," the IAF official said.
The gang had used fake discharge books and certificate of service to open bank accounts in which the IAF money was transferred. The last two fraudulent transactions had occurred at Dhaula Kuan branch of the Canara bank on July 24.
"The amount was transferred to other bank accounts in the name of non-existent individuals across the country and the fraudsters withdrew Rs 14 lakh from the fictitious accounts through debit cards from ATMs. The exact amount lost is yet to be ascertained," the official said.
The IAF approached the local police on Monday evening.
"Representatives of the IAF had approached us on Monday evening and have given us a written complaint pertaining to the matter," said R.S Krishnia, additional CP (southwest).
Police said they were yet to register a case as the IAF had already filed FIRs pertaining to the matter at other locations in the country.
"We have taken note of the complaint but are yet to file a case as FIRs have already been lodged at other locations in the country. We will examine the bank staff and take action if criminality is established on any suspect's part," additional CP Krishnia added.
The bank in question has already refunded the amount released by it on the basis of the forged cheques to the IAF's account and is cooperating with the IAF's enquiry in the matter.