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PNB fraud: 2014 FIR names bank officials in another fraud, EOW yet to file charge sheet

The FIR is based on the complaint lodged by Suresh Mittal, a trustee of Ayurvedic Prachar Sanstha.

mumbai Updated: Mar 05, 2018 23:47 IST
Aritra Hazra
Aritra Hazra
Hindustan Times
PNB,PNB fraud,Nirav Modi
Nirav Modi(HTFILE)

Diamond traders Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi are not the only ones who colluded with employees of the Punjab National Bank (PNB) to commit a fraud. A first information report (FIR) registered in November 2014 with the Cuffe Parade police station, which was later transferred to the economic offences wing (EOW), reveals how senior employees of the public sector bank colluded with Mohammad Fasiuddin and Vimal Maluka to cheat a trust named Ayurvedic Prachar Sanstha.

However, four years later too, none of the employees of PNB have been either investigated or charge-sheeted, although three managerial staffs have been named in the FIR as accused. Instead, the charge sheet filed by the EOW names the PNB officials as witnesses against Fasiuddin and Maluka.

The FIR is based on the complaint lodged by Suresh Mittal, a trustee of Ayurvedic Prachar Sanstha. According to his complaint, in August 2013, two persons namely Ayush and his father Pavan Biyani approached him and lured him to invest in fixed deposits in the Goregaon branch of PNB. Mittal alleged that he accordingly transferred a sum of Rs5 crore in two instalments – of Rs2.75 crore and Rs2.25 crore -- to the PNB branch.

He alleged the father-son duo, in connivance with three PNB officials – senior manager Vijaysingh Siroha, Dinesh Kalra and deputy manager SS Palekar -- created an overdraft facility on the fixed deposits using fabricated documents and forged signatures to the extent of 90% of the FD amount – Rs4.5 crore. The investigation revealed that later the accused siphoned off the overdraft amount to different bank accounts and also closed the overdraft facility by transferring the FD amount towards the overdraft payment, and thus misappropriated the fixed deposit amount of the complainant’s trust.

The investigations conducted by the EOW revealed the overdraft amount was transferred to two accounts – Rs3.50 crore to the account of Jyoti Enterprise, an entity whose owner remains untraceable, and Rs1 crore to the account of Intigration Technology Private Limited. The amount lying in Jyoti Enterprise was later transferred to Prem Cables Private Limited and Showman Infrastructure Private Limited, a company owned by Mohammed Fasiuddin, who is also named as accused in 19 other cases involving allegations of fraud to the extent of Rs300 crore.

The amount of Rs1 crore from Intigration Technology again went to two different entities owned by Fasiuddin, states the EOW charge sheet.

According to special public prosecutor Prakash Salsingikar, one Amruta Mathews has purportedly played an important role in creating fabricated documents and forging signatures for creating the overdraft facility. “Statements revealed that Amruta Mathews, the then branch manager of Dhanlaxmi Bank, had played a role in making of the overdraft account with forged and fabricated documents,” said Salsingikar, adding, “Jyoti Enterprise’ account with Dhanalaxmi Bank was being handled by Vimal Maluka, one of the accused in the case, and statements of prosecution witnesses have corroborated this.”

Datta Pable, senior police inspector of EOW (banking), said, “We are investigating the case. Cases like this take a lot of time as we have to gather adequate evidence. We are still investigating the role of bank employees.”

Interestingly, though the FIR names some persons other than Fasiuddin and Maluka, others have neither been investigated nor charge-sheeted by the EOW, although roles played by some of these accused persons have been revealed in the charge sheet filed by the EOW against Fasiuddin and Maluka.

Although Fasiuddin and Maluka have been charge-sheeted in 2015, their trial is yet to start.

First Published: Mar 05, 2018 23:46 IST