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Hunt for missing cash

The police on Monday launched a probe into the mysterious disappearance of cash from the bank account of a senior Eastern Railway officer.

Deputy commissioner of police (central) Zulfiquar Hasan said Srikant Barik, deputy chief vigilance officer, Eastern Railway, had lodged a complaint with Bowbazar police station that Rs 50,000 has been fraudulently withdrawn from his savings account with a nationalised bank.

Hasan said Barik’s salary was always deposited in his savings account with the bank’s Chowringhee Square branch.

“When Barik went to the bank on December 13 to withdraw cash and update his passbook, he noticed an entry on November 27 showing a withdrawal of Rs 50,000,’’ Hasan said.

“I am sure I did not withdraw such a huge amount recently,’’ Barik told the police, while lodging the complaint.

He brought the irregularity to the notice of senior officers in the bank. “The officers checked the record books and showed Barik a self-drawn cheque, bearing his signature. Barik told the bank officials that the signature on the cheque was not his,’’ Hasan said. “Incidentally, the cheque through which the money was withdrawn, was not from the book issued to Barik by the bank,’’ he added.

Bank officials then showed an application for a new cheque-book by Barik. Hasan said it was made out on a piece of paper and supposedly signed by the railway officer.

But Barik denied having made such an application. The police said there is a formatted page in the old cheque-book for such applications. “It is against rules to issue a new cheque-book on applications made on scraps of paper. There is a prescribed format in the existing cheque-book for the purpose. We will ask the bank officers why they still issued a cheque-book,’’ an officer of Bowbazar police station said on Monday.

Hasan said some of the bank officials were interrogated on Monday. “We suspect it is an inside job. Our officers are taking the help of senior bank officers of other banks to get to the bottom of the case. It could be the handiwork of a gang of racketeers,’’ he added.

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