Aizawl, Nov 5 (UNI) The Aizawl police is on the lookout for a middle-aged woman, who, according to the police, is the kingpin of a financial racket involving over Rs 3,000 lakh.
Ms C Lalmuanpuia, aged about 38, disappeared from her rented house at Chhinga Veng locality here on October 29 leaving hundreds of investors in her fraudulent bank in distress.
A special investigation team arrested seven persons and seized Rs 239 lakh in cash, nine vehicles (mainly cars and bikes), eight land settlement certificates (LSC) and a number of pass books and cheques in connection with the illegal financial transactions.
''We are on the lookout for C Lalmuanpuii, who, the collectors and investors accused, was the CEO of the bank. We are yet to ascertain if there were people above this woman,'' a police official told UNI here today.
It has been revealed that the fraudulent bank, locally referred to as 'Kar Khat Bank' or 'Chiahpuam', had been operating in Aizawl undisrupted for at least six months and had lured a mind-boggling number of people and amount of money as it offered extraordinarily high interest ranging from 12 per cent to Rs 40 per cent.
To the surprise of every one, people from all walks of life - from vegetable vendors to big businessmen to government officials - invested in the fraudulent bank which amounted to over Rs 3,000 lakh at the time it was exposed last week.
All the collectors - some of them were commerce graduates - had been convinced into believing that trade currency via foreign exchange was the mode of the bank's operation, and this seems to be the reason why the financial transaction attracted such a huge number of investors.
However, police have ruled out arms smuggling or counterfeit racket behind the bank.
After realising that they had been cheated all the way, hundreds of distressed collectors and investors swamped the Aizawl police station pleading for their help to get back their money, at least the principal, if not the interest.
''A trustworthy man in my neighbourhood approached me a few months ago and introduced me to this bank. I invested Rs 10,000 at first and withdrew the interest along with the principal after one week. After doing so for some weeks, I started investing all my money. Now, all my money has disappeared,'' a sobbing Mrs Lalsiami told UNI. Mrs Lalsiami claimed that she had lost Rs three lakh to the bank.
''The collectors are afraid to stay in their houses as they are receiving constant threats and pressure from their investors who are determined to get back their money by hook or by crook. They feel secure only in our custody,'' a police official told UNI.
Bank officials have affirmed that the legitimate banks also suffered a heavy blow from the fraudulent bank even as intellectuals feared adverse consequences on the state's economy and society.
UNI ZS DPM RN1711