By Santoshee Gulabkali Mishra
Investigations into the multi-crore rupee serial financial scam, at present being probed by the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the Mumbai Police Crime Branch, have revealed that the arrested accused targeted fixed deposit (FD) accounts that were long term in their duration and hardly checked by the account holders.
In July, the EOW arrested Mohammed Fasihuddin, Anil Pawar, Roy Joseph Thomas and Avinash Khandagle in connection with the racket. Over draft (OD) accounts and cash credit facilities worth crores of rupees were availed of against FD accounts of private as well as government organisations, including the SIES trust, Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Development Authority (MMRDA), Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) and Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC), by using forged paperwork.
“Khandagle, during interrogation, revealed that having worked in the banking sector, he was aware of the fact that many bank customers, including organisations, opened FD accounts and let them lie dormant for years, and many customers did not even check the status of their accounts. There have also been instances where customers have forgotten to renew their accounts,” said an officer.
A team of the Central Bureau of Investigation is also probing the case due to several common factors between this case and one that they had been probing for a month.
“Apart from using his knowledge of the banking sector to identify potential targets, Khandagle also used it to forge documents required for the accused to pull off the scam. We have gone through transaction details of his bank accounts and have enough evidence to prove that money was fraudulently diverted to his accounts,” the officer said.
Inquiries so far indicate that the accused made at least Rs 150 crore through this method. Fasihuddin, during subsequent investigations, was found to have invested some money in a film studio in Mumbai and a hotel in Goa.