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Need not quiz top brass: Cops

delhi Updated: Jan 06, 2011 02:41 IST
Sanjeev K Ahuja
Sanjeev K Ahuja
Hindustan Times
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A day after registering the names of 11 Citibank officials, including the Global chief executive officer Vikram Pandit, in the R300-crore fraud case, the Gurgaon police on Wednesday gave a clean chit to its top bosses. The police said they would not cross Indian borders to question those officials or ask them to participate in the investigation. This, despite their names appeared in the FIR prominently.

“At this point of time the possibility of involvement of global CEO or India head looks remote,” Gurgaon police commissioner SS Deswal said.

The police, however, clarified that all local branch officials whose names appear in the FIR were under scanner and would be interrogated. They indicated that some of them, if found guilty, could be arrested also.

Shivraj Puri, the relationship manager of Citibank, has already been booked and arrested by the police.

Top Citibank bosses whose names appear in the FIR include global CEO Vikram Pandit, Citibank NA chairman William R Rhodes, CFO John Gerspach, COO Douglas Petersan — all based in USA.

Those in India such as Ashwin Chadha, heading a number of branches, Amrita Farmahan, head of branches network, Rahul Soota, the head of retail and customer banking, N Rajshekaran, head consumer division, Pramit Jhaveri, CEO, Amit Zarpuri, the head of local branch, and suspended relationship manager Shivraj Puri are named in the FIR.

On the other hand, Citibank officials claimed the dealings and transactions made by all relationship managers across branches had been carefully surveyed and found to be satisfactory.

According to them, no other official from the bank was involved in the fraud or had connived with Puri.

A Citibank spokesperson stated, “Citibank identified the fraud and immediately reported the matter to the regulators and law enforcement agencies. Sanjeev Aggarwal’s claims against senior executives are completely without basis and we intend to contest them vigorously. It was on Citi complaint that the Gurgaon police lodged an FIR and are currently investigating the matter. Citi will continue to work with the authorities on this investigation.”

A case under Section 409 (cheating by a banker), 477A (falsification of accounts), 420 (cheating) and 120B (criminal conspiracy) was registered at the DLF-2 police station on the complaint of Aggarwal.

Meanwhile, a two-member team of the market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India two-member team questioned the alleged mastermind of the fraud Shivraj Puri and Sanjay Gupta, associate vice-president (accounts) of Hero Corporate Services.