They thought dead men tell no tales.
But the ghost of their crime has returned to haunt five employees of Jharkhand Grameen Bank's Harharguttu branch who allegedly conjured a "nominee" out of thin air to withdraw Rs. 10 lakh from the pension account of a retired Tata Steel employee who had died years ago.
The con looked easy enough and the stakes were high.
"A snag in the account, that is the absence of a nominee, of the deceased had led to pension being credited into his account. This continued for several years to a point when the total balance in the came close to Rs. 10 lakh," Ashok Kumar Prasad, senior manager of the bank, said.
It was Prasad who found out that "things did not add up" while going through the retired employee's account with the bank.
"The heist, which is three-year-old, would probably have gone unnoticed as the whole affair was carried out very craftily. The temptation was huge and these employees managed to produce a nominee and filled the required nominee form that allowed them to withdraw the whole amount easily. But as it generally happens, they left traces. I have lodged an FIR with the Jugsalai police," Prasad added.
The employees were clerk-cum-cashiers identified as Sujit Biswas, Pradeep Kumar Das, Videshi Lal, Pankaj Kumar and Sukumar Kundu.
The officer-in-charge of Jugsalai Police Station, Arun Kumar Mishra confirmed the case.
"This looks a simple case of fraud conspired by a group of bank employees. But simplicity ends here. The crime itself is three-year-old. The accused employees have since been transferred to different branches across the state. But we have taken up the investigation. We expect results soon," he added.
The Jharkhand Gramin Bank was set up in June, 2006 by amalgamating four erstwhile regional rural banks, Ranchi Kshetriya Gramin Bank, Singhbhum Kshetriya Gramin Bank, Hazaribag Kshetriya Gramin Bank and Giridih Kshetriya Gramin Bank.
With its head office in capital Ranchi, the bank has operations in 15 out of 24 districts in the state with a network of 224 branches.