Currency chest was operated by cashier and accountant, but case registered only against cashier
Two months after the grand merger of over 420 branches of the State Bank of Saurashtra with the State Bank of India, the Reserve Bank of India has unearthed a Rs 95.40-crore scam from the Bhavnagar branch of the former, when it was the headquarter of the erstwhile SBS.
A case of fraud and cheating has been registered against head cashier Kirit Purohit for misappropriation of cash even as the police have not ruled out the possibility of involvement of more people in the crime.
The currency chest was operated under the joint custody of the cashier and the accountant, but the case has been registered against Purohit only. Incidentally, the bank authorities have also made Purohit file an affidavit to the police accepting responsibility for the scam.
According to reports, an inspection by an RBI vigilance wing revealed that the scam began in April at the Nilam Baug branch, and continued till November 6, when cash was withdrawn in installments from the currency chest.
The seven-month old scam remained under carpet even when the merger took place in August, the report said.
The complaint registered by SBI Nilam Baug branch assistant branch manager Anil Mule accused Purohit of illegally using withdrawal slips and not depositing money submitted in the bank deposited by a current account holder. The complaint has been lodged under Sections 420, 409, 406 and 403 of the IPC.
Deputy Superintendent of Police P Bharada said “investigations are on and Purohit has been subjected to interrogation.”
The A-Division police, with whom the complaint has been lodged, said that Purohit siphoned off cash to the tune of Rs 82.5 lakh during April-November, through 40,000 notes of Rs 100 domination, 4,000 notes of Rs 500 domination and 2,250 notes of Rs 1,000 domination. Besides, he also withdrew Rs 6.60 lakh through withdrawal slips.
It has also been accused that Purohit did not deposit Rs 6.3 lakh to the account of current account holder Asian Gems, though a receipt in this regard has been issued.
SBS was one of the associate banks of SBI. The State Bank of Saurashtra started as Bhavnagar Darbar Bank, which was established in 1902. Bhavnagar was one of the princely states of the Saurashtra region of Gujarat. In 1948, when the princely states were integrated to form the Saurashtra state, a need for the state-owned bank was felt. Accordingly, the Bhavnagar Darbar Bank was formed into a statutory corporation, called the State Bank of Saurashtra. Four Darbar Banks — Rajkot State Bank, Porbandar State Bank, Palitana Darbar Bank and Vadia State Bank were merged with it. In 1960, the State Bank of Saurashtra joined the State Bank family as one of its fully owned subsidiaries. This enabled the State Bank of Saurashtra to expand its operations by using the network of the State Bank Group to further its business activities.