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FIR in bank gold loan scam

The senior branch manager of UCO Bank, Phusro in Bokaro, on Thursday filed an FIR against eight persons, including the bank’s registered gold valuer, after it came to light that gold loan worth Rs 84 lakh had been disbursed against fake ornaments.

The scam was unearthed by the CBI, which acted after receiving a complaint from RTI activist and social worker Ashish Pal on May 21 last year.

Pal, who was tipped off about the goal loan fraud by an employee of the bank, wrote to CBI director Ranjit Kumar Sinha, who, in turn, asked CBI SP, Dhanbad, P.K. Majhi to start an inquiry. Majhi contacted UCO Bank officials and its vigilance wing.

Consequently, CBI officials, gold valuer of UCO Bank, Bokaro steel city, Gautam Kumar; chief manager of UCO Bank, Bokaro, Amit Srivastav; and bank lawyer R.K. Darad rechecked gold items mortgaged by customers between 2012 and April 2013 to procure loans. Of the 13 packets examined, nine were found to contain fake gold jewellery, prompting senior branch manager Bansidhar Boury to file the FIR at Bermo police station.

It is being suspected that the Phusro branch’s valuer (who checks the purity of gold), Krishna Kumar, played a major role in the scam as he had certified that the fake ornaments as real and between 22 and 24 carats.

Boury said: “A decision was taken to file the FIR as nine gold packets were found to contain fake jewellery. The other accused are those who had mortgaged fake gold.”

The seven customers are Sunil Kumar Sinha, who had taken a loan of 6.68 lakh; Rinku Sinha (Rs 10.17 lakh); Dilip Karmali (Rs 4.13 lakh and Rs 6.92 lakh); Jairaj Kumar (Rs 1.12 lakh); Mohammad Hasnul Hoda (Rs 11.46 lakh); Ghanshayam Kumar (Rs 12.22 lakh); and Jai Prakash Sao (Rs 11.97 lakh).

“Law will take its course and arrests will be made. Role of a few bank employees also seems to be dubious. They may be picked up for questioning,” Bermo inspector R.J. Prasad said.

The FIR has been lodged under sections 409 (criminal breach of trust by banker or merchant or agent), 419 (conspiracy), 420 (fraud, cheating), 467 (forgery of valuables/security), 468 (forgery for purpose of cheating), 471 (using a forged document as genuine) and 120B (party to criminal conspiracy) of the IPC.