//Bank officer in Rs 60-lakh fraud net

Bank officer in Rs 60-lakh fraud net

Calcutta, Feb. 16: A former chief manager of the NRI branch of State Bank of India was arrested last night for alleged involvement in a Rs 60-lakh fraud.

Investigations revealed that the official who was with the J.L. Nehru Road branch of the bank spent a large chunk of the money to buy gifts — among them were a Ford Ikon car and a diamond necklace — for his girlfriend. Arup Kumar Gupta, in his mid-40s, was arrested from Delhi where he is now working as deputy vice-president (audit and finance) in a private bank.

He was produced in a court in the capital today, where Calcutta police were granted transit remand.Gupta will be produced in the chief metropolitan magistrate’s court in Calcutta tomorrow. Gyanwant Singh, the deputy commissioner (I) in Calcutta police’s detective department, said: “We swung into action after receiving a complaint from P. Pattabhi Rao, the deputy general manager (vigilance) of SBI.”

“It was mentioned in the complaint that Gupta had duped the bank during his service tenure. The fraud was detected during the process of annual audit and he was suspended in 2004,” the officer added.

Gupta had opened a fictitious account in 1993 in the name of Altaf Ali, Singh said. “As head of the bank, he sanctioned a loan of Rs 50 lakh, violating the bank’s rules and regulations, and credited the amount to the account of Altaf Ali. He withdrew the entire amount the same year,” the deputy commissioner said.

Gupta then opened another fictitious account in the name of Pratap Chowdhury. “He transferred Rs 59.96 lakh from the short-term deposit account of an NRI, identified as Kali Pratap Chowdhury, without his permission to the second fictitious account,” Singh said. “Gupta then transferred the entire amount to the account in the name of Ali and repaid the loan.”

During the course of investigations, the police came to know that Gupta had left the city a few months ago and joined a private bank in Delhi. A team of police officers left for Delhi last Tuesday and arrested him. “We produced him in a court in Tis Hazari and he was remanded in the custody of the detective department,” said an officer. Gupta was picked up from his luxurious apartment in Nehru Place where he was living with his girlfriend (name withheld on request). “We are investigating to find out whether he had committed such crimes before. We will also interrogate his girlfriend,” Singh said.