The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Thursday conducted searches at 25 locations in Delhi and Rajasthan, officials said Thursday, in connection with the coins worth around Rs 11 crore missing from an SBI branch in Karauli’s Mehandipur Balaji last year.
The searches were carried out in Delhi, Jaipur, Dausa, Karauli, Sawai Madhopur, Alwar, Udaipur and Bhilwara in an on-going investigation of the case, the officials said. Premises of around 15 former officials of the bank and others including the branch manager/ joint custodian and cash officers were searched, they added.
As per the initial FIR lodged on August 16, 2021 at Todabhim police station in Karauli, the alleged embezzlement at SBI’s Mehandipur branch came to light in mid-2021. An initial inquiry conducted by a bank committee found that, prima facie, embezzlement had indeed been committed.
Subsequently, an agency, Arpit Goods Carrier, was tasked by the SBI with counting the coins which should have totalled around Rs 13.01 crore.
The agency started counting the money on July 22, 2021 under the watch of branch manager Hargovind Meena. More than two weeks later, however, the agency said some unknown, armed men threatened its staff involved in the counting to stop the activity.
Till August 6, 2021 the agency had counted coins valued at Rs 1.39 crore, in 2,350 bags, the FIR stated. Around 600-700 bags were still left when the FIR was filed, with an estimated value of Rs 60 lakh — pointing to an embezzlement of over Rs 11 crore.
The FIR was lodged under IPC sections 420 (cheating), 409 (criminal breach of trust by a public servant or by banker, merchant or agent, etc.) and 120 B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC.
The SBI subsequently approached the Rajasthan High court to direct the CBI to pursue the FIR. On April 13 this year, the CBI lodged an FIR for criminal conspiracy, cheating and criminal breach of trust in connection with the case.