Two SBI officials among eight held in fake cheque scam

Patna, May 3 (IANS) Bihar police have arrested eight people, including two officials of the State Bank of India, for their alleged involvement in withdrawing cash running into crores of rupees from government accounts using forged cheques, officials said Friday.

Additional Director General of Police (Headquarters) Ravinder Kumar said that the Economic Offences Unit (EOU) of the state police have busted an inter-state gang and arrested eight of its members.

“EOU have arrested eight people, including kingpin Sunny Priyadarshi, from Patna, two from New Delhi and one from Kolkata in this connection,” he said.

Kumar told IANS that more arrests were likely, both within the state and in other states of the country, in connection with this case.

EOU Inspector General Praveen Vashista said that the two arrested SBI officials were Surendra Tiwary, an assistant at Patliputra SBI branch in Patna, and Prashant Kumar, employed with the Lajpat Nagar branch of the bank in New Delhi.

“The bank officials got 10 percent share of the money withdrawn with the fake cheques,” the police officer said.

Explaining the modus operandi of the gang, Vashista said that they would open several bank accounts with fake identity papers, in locations across the country. Fake cheques would then be presented for encashment.

Around 50 cheques were deposited each month by the gang, each for Rs.4 lakh or Rs.5 lakh, the police officer said, adding that the racket had been going on for about three years.

“After the amount came to the account, it was immediately drawn via cheques and ATMs in different cities,” he said, explaining that the gang had a success rate of about 50 percent.

The EOU team recovered 13 fake cheques, including seven bearing the forged signature of the district development commissioner of Gopalganj district in the state, and six forged signatures of the child development project officer, Danapur, Patna district.

Vashista said that a case was lodged against 15 people on the basis of of Priyadarshi’s confessions.

He said that the EOU was probing this gang’s links with other such gangs in the country.

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