The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Bank fraud bid nets three

Two men and a woman were arrested on Wednesday while attempting to swindle a nationalised bank of Rs 70 lakh. The trio was produced in court and remanded in police custody.

Police said bank officials detected the fraud during the final check before sanctioning the loan amount. They interrogated the woman, who broke down and confessed to the crime. The men were rounded up later.

Rajeev Kumar, deputy commissioner (central division), said: “The woman, wife of a priest in Picnic Garden, was assured by the men of Rs 5,000 as commission if she swung the deal. She is an employee of a private firm, drawing Rs 1,500 a month, which is not enough to sustain her four-member family. Poverty drew her into the racket, which is why we are not disclosing her name.”

Elaborating on the crime, Kumar said Samiran Bhattacharya and Bahadur Singh had managed to get hold of the photocopy of a deed of land on Garfa Main Road. The duo then formed a company, Startext Engineering.

As the original owner of the plot is a woman named Kantarani Pal, both Bhattacharya and Singh were looking for a woman to impersonate her. “Singh had access to the firm in which the woman worked. He convinced her to help and the woman agreed because she needed the money,” Kumar added.

A few weeks ago, the two men arrived at the head office of United Bank of India (UBI), on Council House Street, with the woman. They applied for a crore of rupees, claiming they wanted to launch a business firm. Accordingly, the bank carried out the paperwork, inspected the site and agreed to pay Rs 70 lakh.

“Today was the last day of verification,” said Kumar, adding: “During the last check of the land deed copy, an official calculated that Kantarani should have been 70 years old. Her impersonator was in her mid-forties.”

Hare Street police were called in. Bhattacharya and Singh were traced from the Rashbehari area, based on the information provided by the woman. Kumar said a section of bank staff may be involved in the incident. The accused had gone through a number of verification steps. The fraud should have been detected earlier.

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