The name of controversial Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) inspector general SS Sandhu has figured in a first information report (FIR) about a financial crime involving Rs 3 crore.
In the FIR, an Axix Bank employee and three other people are accused of trying to cheat the authorities of the Larsen and Toubro thermal-energy plant at Rajpura by withdrawing money in their name; and Sandhu’s name comes in as the one known to the beneficiary account holder. Now posted in Delhi, Sandhu is on the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) radar already about irregularities in buying equipment for the CRPF personnel during his tenure in Jammu and Kashmir.
The attempt to transfer `3 crore from the plant’s bank account fraudulently through RTGS (real-time gross settlement) was made on March 31. The police took about seven months to crack the case. Axix Bank assistant manager Manish Kumar; and co-accused Vineet Kumar, Vijay Kumar; and Rinku are charged with trying to transfer the money into an account in Malwa Gramin Bank that is run by non-government oragnisation (NGO) Bhai Ghanaiya Welfare Trust (BGWT), Bhunerheri.
Plant’s director-cum-general manager Manish Mehta had approached the senior superintendent of police (SSP) on March 31, to report the fake RTGS transaction at Axis Bank in favour of the welfare trust. It has come out in the investigation that the trust belongs to Sandhu’s close friend Gurdev Singh Chaudhry and his friends.
Not trusting Surinder Mohan Singh Jolly, Kirpal Singh and Rinku, who had advised him to open the account to exploit their links with the rich Indian and foreign NGOs and receive crores of rupees in donation from them, Chaudhry took them to IG Sandhu in Delhi, where allegedly a deal was made that the IG and some others would take their cut from the grant coming into the account; and Chaudhry, assistant manager, and their accomplices would keep the rest.
However, by mistake, they used the actual trust account to draw the money from the power plant account and were caught. “We can’t rule out the possibility of the involvement of L&T employees as well, since the documentation format was similar to the other RTGS requests that plant officials make,” said a police officer working on the case.
The SSP said it appeared to be a major racket and Vineet, assistant manager Manish Kumar, and another accomplice were under arrest. “The accused almost succeeded in transferring the money, but coincidentally, L&T did not have so much money in its account on the transaction day,” said the SSP, adding: “The next day, the bank manager approached the L&T officials, who denied making the request and approached the police.”
What is RTGS
Real-time gross settlement: System used typically for high-value transactions that require immediate clearing, Since the funds settlement takes place in the Reserve Bank of India books, the payments are final and irrevocable. The minimum amount to be remitted is Rs 2 lakh and there is no upper ceiling for transaction. The beneficiary branches receive funds as soon as these are transferred by the remitting bank; and have to credit the beneficiary's account within 30 minutes.