November 3, 2009 11:53:14 pm
Vaibhav Parmar,a bank employee in the city,checked his bank balance one morning last month and found,to his surprise,that he had a credit of Rs 80 crore.
The huge,overnight deposit struck him as the result of foul play and he lodged a complaint with the Mumbai Polices dedicated Cyber Crime police station at Bandra Kurla Complex on October 15,alleging misuse of his account by unknown individuals.
The Cyber Crime police have taken up the unusual case,and are currently probing whether there is a money-laundering angle to the irregular deposit.
It is a very unique case the cyber police are investigating,of a kind we have not come across before. Parmar is an ICICI Bank employee with an average income and an account at the Seepz branch of a major nationalised bank. He approached the police about the Rs 80 crore deposited in his account overnight,and did not know where the amount had come from, said a senior police officer.
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During subsequent inquiries the bank has communicated to the police that a technical error had caused the irregularity,with a printing mistake involved. However,the police are continuing their investigations.
Such unusual account behaviour is usually an indicator of money laundering,in which large amounts of money that cannot be accounted for are suddenly pumped into an account with no apparent business source. Accounts are sometimes used as temporary repositories for such large amounts before they are ultimately transferred out,sometimes to foreign accounts. Such cases need to be looked into very seriously,as money laundering is linked to underworld activities and can also be connected with terrorism, said the officer.
If a money-laundering angle is eventually unearthed,the cyber crime police will not have the powers to frame any charges on their own. This is due to inherent restrictions in the Prevention of Money Laundering Act,2002; the Directorate of Enforcement has been conferred with exclusive powers to implement provisions of the Act. The Mumbai Police will have to pass on details of the case to the central agency.
Money laundering is the process of creating the appearance that large amounts of money obtained from serious crimes,such as drug trafficking or terrorist activity,originated from a legitimate source.
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