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Delhi: Three HDFC bank employees, 9 others held for attempting to withdraw Rs 5 cr from NRI’s account

The businessman had Rs 200 crore in his HDFC bank account and the accused tried 66 times for transferring money from his account to their beneficiary accounts.

Written by Mahender Singh Manral | New Delhi |
Updated: October 20, 2021 1:55:35 am
One of the arrested persons is a 32-year-old woman, who is a relationship manager and two others are working with the technical support team of the bank.

A team of techies, a group of real estate operators, three bank employees, a travel agency owner, a mastermind who described himself as a “doctor” — and a senior banker who succumbed to Covid a few months ago.

These are the key players at the centre of a complex plan to allegedly steal Rs 5 crore from a prominent NRI businessman’s bank account, which had Rs 200 crore in all, according to investigations by the cyber cell of Delhi Police.

Following up on a complaint from HDFC Bank after a sum of around Rs 2 crore was withdrawn fraudulently from the account through cheques in Punjab’s Mohali and UP’s Ghaziabad, police have arrested three of the bank’s own employees and nine others in the case.

Police sources told The Indian Express that details of the case were shared by the Union Finance Ministry with Delhi Police Commissioner Rakesh Asthana who directed a team to “unearth the conspiracy”.

According to police, the plan was two-pronged.

The techies tried to illegally access the account. According to DCP (Cyber Cell) K P S Malhotra, HDFC Bank stated in “their complaint that in all 66 attempts were made to access the account through internet banking”. At the same time, the other accused tried to withdraw money using the leaves of a cheque book obtained illegally.

The key to both plans were the bank employees who tried to access and change the mobile number linked to the account, police said.

The mastermind in the case is now absconding, police said, adding that the account was first tagged for targeting by a senior banker who died due to Covid a few months ago. The mastermind took over the operation from the banker, police said.

DCP Malhotra identified those arrested as: Rohit Jaiswal (31), who runs a real estate business, and other property operators Gaurav Sharma (30) and Shiv Lal Singh (41); Amardeep Kumar Singhal (35), who owns an IT company, and other techies Amardeep Tomar (26), Sukhpal Tanwar (34), Naveen Kumar Jatav (33) and Samarpal Singh (40); Dravin Chaurasiya (27) and Atul Singh (29), employees of HDFC’s Gonda branch in UP, and a 32-year-old employee of a branch in Haryana; and Himanshu Yadav (30) who owns a travel agency.

Tanwar, Jatav and Samarpal Singh work in the IT team of a Gurgaon-based company.

“We received a complaint from HDFC alleging that they have noticed that some illegal attempts are being made to access one NRI’s bank account. Attempts were made to withdraw cash from the account after using a fraudulently obtained cheque book and attempts were also made to update the mobile phone number in the KYC of the account by replacing the registered US number with a similar or identical Indian number,” Malhotra said.

“Based on technical evidence, footprints and human intelligence, multiple geo-locations were identified. Raids were conducted in 20 locations across Delhi, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. We have arrested 12 persons and three are HDFC bank employees, who were involved in issuing the cheque book, updating the mobile phone number and removing a debit freeze of the account,” Malhotra said.

During investigation, police identified a man who posed as a doctor from a leading private hospital.

“Everyone in the gang called him ‘doctor’. He would offer associates a huge share in the partnership. The account of the NRI was identified by a banker around eight months ago, and he shared all the details with the ‘doctor’. But the banker died due to Covid, and the ‘doctor’ continued with the plan and approached Jaiswal. He asked him to hire more persons and they lured several people after giving huge offers of money to them,” a senior police officer said.

During questioning, police said, the accused disclosed that the mastermind came to know that the NRI account is dormant and has huge funds.

“The mastermind along with his associates, Rohit Jaiswal, Gaurav Sharma and Amardeep Kumar Singhal, had gathered information regarding the account. They approached a woman employee of HDFC Bank and promised to give Rs 10 lakh to her. They also assured her that they would give her insurance business worth Rs 15 lakh, which was the target assigned to her by the bank for appraisal,” Malhotra said.

“After taking her help, they got a cheque book linked to the NRI’s account issued and got the debt freeze of the account lifted. They made multiple attempts of withdrawal, but failed. However, two cases had already been registered, one at Ghaziabad, UP, and one at Mohali, Punjab,” Malhotra said.

During questioning, police said, the arrested persons disclosed that Jaiswal, who owns the real estate company, distributed leaves of the cheque book to his accomplices. The understanding was that they would get half the amount they withdraw from the account if they manage to hoodwink the bank by giving consent over phone on behalf of the account holder, police said.

“Both the bank employees attempted to update the phone number linked in the KYC while the other associates, who were working with the IT company, tried to login to the account through internet banking. All these attempts of withdrawal, unauthorised login attempts to internet banking, updating of mobile phone number were only possible due to the connivance of the bank employees,” the DCP said.

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