The Swargate police have registered a case of forgery,cheating and theft after Rs 2.13 crore were allegedly siphoned off from the Income Tax (I-T) department by stealing the cheque book and forging signatures and seals. All the money was deposited as I-T refunds in three bank accounts with three names but same photo of the person whom the police are yet to trace. Surprisingly,the fraud is suspected to have taken place between April and June in 2011.
A complaint in this regard has been registered by Jalaja Jadhav,an officer with the I-T office at Swargate. Senior inspector Ram Pathare of Swargate police told Newsline,The money has been deposited in three bank accounts. The names of the account holders are Girish Baburao Patel,Shailesh Chunilal Gandhi and Lalchand Omkar Patel. When we went to the addresses mentioned in the account details,we found that they were fake. We then spoke to one of the persons who gave reference for the suspect. He told us that the person met him in the bank and asked if he could give his reference. We will be speaking to two more persons who gave their reference.
Pathare said,The incident came to light after I-T officials noticed that the refunds of Rs 20 lakh and Rs 25 lakh have been deposited to PAN accounts that have not filed a return in last three years. The three accounts had the same photo. We suspect involvement of a person from within the office. Without an inside hand,a fraud of this magnitude is not possible.
Jadhav,in her complaint,said It is suspected that a cheque book was stolen from the I-T office and the signature of former income tax officer Varghese Philip was forged along with the department seal. Jadhav,however,refused to speak to Newsline when contacted.
The cheques have been deposited in accounts in two national banks and a co-operative bank. A case of forgery,cheating and theft under relevant sections of the IPC has been registered, added Pathare. Police Inspector (crime) S N Kamble of Swargate police station is the investigating officer for the case.
In a similar case,police had arrested Sheela Santosh Chineewar (27) a temporary computer operator with I-T department for allegedly swindling Rs 21.5 lakh from the department accounts.