Film producer held for gold loan fraud

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By SANDIP BAL
  • Published 24.05.13
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Bhubaneswar, May 23: The CBI, Bhubaneswar, today detained a builder-cum-film producer and a suspended branch manager of Odisha Gramya Bank for their alleged involvement in a gold loan fraud of worth around Rs 13.22 crore.

“The detainees, realtor Ratikanta Kanungo, 40, and former branch manager of the bank Kalandi Charan Nayak, 58, are being interrogated at the CBI office in Unit-VIII area,” said a CBI official.

Official sources said that they got a complaint from Odisha Gramya Bank Dumuduma branch where loans worth Rs 13.22 crore had been taken in the name of five persons during December 2012 and March 2013 against gold worth around 66 kilograms.

However, later it was found that the gold was fake — it was gold-coated aluminum.

Officials at the bank’s head office became suspicious when they found loans worth more than Rs 13 crore sanctioned in one quarter when the branch had the capacity to sanction loans below Rs 4 crore. During an internal inquiry they found the irregularities.

During further investigation it was found that the gold kept mortgaged was fake. The involvement of the branch manager surfaced following which he was suspended.

Even the gold appraiser Sahoo’s role was found suspicious.

Around eight teams of the investigating agency today conducted raids at over 10 places in the city.

The raids were conducted at Kanungo’s Chintamaniswar residence, the Saheed Nagar office of the real estate firm Shibani Estates and Promoters Private Limited, an international school and an engineering college located at Chhatabar and a media house at Acharya Vihar along with Nageswartangi house of the former branch manager.

The officials also raided the house of the gold appraiser Manbhanjan Sahoo in Old town area.

The officials also raided the residences of Kanungo’s driver Nakula Parida at Chintamaniswar, his cook Anil Das at Old Town, a temporary worker of the bank Bijon Samal, who was working as a messenger in the bank and staying at Dumuduma and a father-son duo Purusottam Sahu and Surya Narayan Sahu, who are tailors in Unit -V area.

The loans had been drawn in the name of these five people. The officials seized several loan related documents and electronic evidences from the raided spots. A senior CBI official said that the raids were going on and it would continue tomorrow at other places.

The CBI officials, however, said that the loanees were poor people who only knew the suspended branch manager or the realtor. They had only believed these two people who had conspired the total fraud.

Kanungo and Nayak used to mend their clothes from the tailor father-son duo. Even the branch manager was known to them for the last 30 years.

An officer said that Bijon Samal, who was working as a messenger of the bank, had been assured by Nayak of a permanent job there.

“When we asked him to sign a paper he blindly put his signature. The real perpetrators had used his signatures to take 90 loans worth Rs 4.32 crores in his name,” said an investigating officer.

Even the gold appraiser, who seemed not so wealthy, also had been dragged into the fraud. Kanungo, who had produced a Odia film Rakhee Bandhili Mo Rakhiba Maan, was picked up from his Sahid Nagar real estate office this afternoon.

Sources said that the officials are interrogating the prime accused. “They might be forwarded to the court tomorrow. We will investigate more before taking any steps to arrest these poor people,” said another official.