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Fraud loots AIDC money; Callous officials under the scanner

At a time when Dispur is making tall claims to attract investors and industries to the State, money to the tune of several crores

Fraud

Sentinel Digital Desk

STAFF REPORTER

GUWAHATI: At a time when Dispur is making tall claims to attract investors and industries to the State, money to the tune of several crores of rupees appears to be fraudulently withdrawn from the fixed bank deposit of Assam Industrial Development Corporation Limited (AIDC). Callousness of a section of AIDC officials has been attributed to such bizarre development.

The AIDC was set up to strive towards a high standard of industrial infrastructure across the State.

Sources informed that the AIDC had a fixed deposit of Rs 14 crore in the Kahilipara city branch of Canara Bank. The amount matured recently.

About a month back, an individual — identifying himself as a manager of Central Bank of India – met senior officials of the AIDC at its Ambikagiri Nagar-based office here. The self-styled bank manager tried to convince the AIDC officials that the fixed deposit amount in Canara Bank could be transferred to the Central Bank of India to fetch high interest rates. The AIDC officials were convinced and gave their nod to the bank manager to transfer the fixed deposit amount from Canara Bank to the Bhangagarh branch of Central Bank of India.

Strangely enough, the AIDC officials neither bothered to verify the credentials of the so-called bank manager nor did they correspond about the matter with the authorities at the Central Bank of India, sources said.

After getting the AIDC's nod, the matured fixed deposit amount was transferred to the Bhangagarh branch of Central Bank of India. Subsequently, an amount of more than Rs 2 crore was later transferred to a bank based in Kolkata from the Bhangagarh branch of Central Bank of India. Reportedly, the fraud bank manager later withdrew the amount from the bank, in Kolkata.

The fraud came to the light only when the Central Bank of India detected some suspicious transactions; and filed a case at the Bhangagarh Police Station.

Interestingly enough, the AIDC learnt about the fraud only after the Bhangagarh branch of Central Bank of India informed the AIDC about the suspicious transaction. Later, the AIDC filed an FIR at the Geetanagar Police Station on August 7.

However, the case was transferred to the Bhangagarh Police Station since the Bhangagarh branch of Central Bank of India does not fall under the jurisdiction of the Geetanagar Police Station. The case has now been handed over to the Crime Branch of City Police.

In the meantime, the AIDC has ordered an internal inquiry and suspended two of its senior officials. The suspended officials are Financial Controller of AIDC Om Prakash Agarwal and Additional Financial Controller Rajib Medhi.

When contacted, officials at the Crime Branch as well the AIDC refused to divulge details of the fraud immediately for the sake of investigation. Authorities of the Bhangagarh branch of Central Bank of India could not be contacted during the last few days as the bank has been declared as a containment zone due to detection of COVID-positive cases among some of the Bank employees.

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