Scam hits Citibank India; fraud worth 400 crore

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Gurgaon, Dec 29: This was just what India wanted to hear, the perfect year-end gift. Yes, its yet another scam. This time it has come from the American banking giant Citibank. A case of possible fraud was reported at DLF-II branch, Gurgaon and is reportedly estimated at Rs 300-350 crore.

The scam was engineered by none other than an employee Shiv Raj Puri who was working as a Relationship Manager for the past 7-8 years. The fraud came to light when the bank's Assistant Vice President Binu Soman noticed suspicious transactions in certain accounts at the Gurgaon branch.

After a police complaint was filed, which stated that Puri had opened a joint account in the names of Prem Nath, Sehna Prem Nath, and Deeksha Puri in September 2009; initial investigations reveal that the joint account (no 5011666247) had transacted a huge sum  of money.

Moreover, there were reports of customers revealing that the bank was running some scheme that promised a very high interest rate. There was no such schemes running which led to an internal inquiry, according to the senior investigating officer.

Puri has also been charged with producing forged circulars from the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) to con people into investing in a non-existent scheme and making people believe that the scheme was only available in that particular branch. The Gurgaon police who is investigating the case said that major clients were conned and the fact that Sebi had not released any form of this sort was found.

Police reports say that Puri managed to get large deposits and made fake bank slips and statements for the customers. Puri siphoned off the money to invest in the stock market. Citibank has intimated the Reserve Bank of India and Sebi about the fraud.

In a statement given out by the bank, "Identified suspicious transactions have been isolated and we are providing full assistance to the authorities in their investigations. This issue does not impact other accounts, transactions or customers of the bank. Subsequent to our complaint naming the involved employee and other external individuals who appear to be perpetrators in these suspicious transactions, Gurgaon police have registered an FIR."

The police officer investigating the case said that 18 accounts have been identified and seized that was operated in the name of the four accused and carrying deposits worth Rs 3.85 crore. The accused Puri is absconding. The ACP (east), Rao Dalbir Singh, has issued a look-out circular (LOC) for Puri so that he can remain in the country.

OneIndia News

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