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ICICI Bank branch manager ran scam for years to meet performance targets: Report

ICICI Bank branch manager ran scam for years to meet performance targets: Report

| @indiablooms | 15 Feb 2024, 01:10 am

Pratapgarh (Rajasthan): An ICICI Bank branch manager and his associates successfully met their business performance goals over several years by withdrawing funds from the accounts of unsuspicious customers at their branch, media reports said.

They used these withdrawals to give the appearance of opening new fixed deposit, current, and savings accounts, reported the Economic Times.

“These officials had been creating overdrafts against FDs and using the money from the overdraft to open new current accounts, saving accounts and FD accounts. This technique is called 'Entry and Reverse Entry' in banking parlance. After a few days the newly created current accounts, saving accounts and FD accounts would be closed, and the money would be routed back to the source bank accounts. This operation has been running for years,” Amit Kumar, Superintendent of Police (SP), Pratapgarh, Rajasthan, was quoted as saying by the Economic Times.

However, someone found out about their activities and began to blackmail the officials at the bank branch.

In an attempt to conceal their wrongdoing, their embezzlement escalated as they began illegally withdrawing from customers' accounts to pay off an individual based in Udaipur as hush money, the report said.

Police have said that the bank manager and his accomplices resorted to misappropriation as they were under pressure to meet business performance targets.

So far, they have paid Rs 2.5 crore as hush money to their blackmailer, according to Rajasthan Police but ICICI Bank puts it at Rs 2 crore, said the report.

On the incident, an ICICI Bank spokesperson told the Economic Times, "We would like to reassure that there will be no financial loss to genuine customers. Further, we have a zero-tolerance policy towards fraud, and hence the employee, who was found involved prima facie, has been suspended pending further investigation. We have also filed a complaint with the Police and are cooperating in their investigation."

The Superintendent of Police said that the incident involved financial fraud leading to monetary losses, yet authorities are still in the process of determining from which specific bank account(s) the funds were withdrawn.

The accused bank manager has been running this scam for a considerable duration, and no proper records have been kept. Branch employees were unknowingly processing and reversing transactions without awareness of the scam.

According to Kumar, a Special Investigation Team (SIT) was established on February 7, 2024, under the direction of ASP Bhagchand Meena. Cyber and financial forensic experts were also part of the SIT.

The incident came to light after an employee at the branch discovered that Rs 70 lakh was missing from her friend’s account, he said.

The employee's friend was aware of the fraudulent activity and had been informed that Rs 70 lakh would be temporarily withdrawn from his account, to be returned after 3 to 4 days. However, the promised reversal never occurred, prompting suspicion from the bank employee, SP Kumar stated.

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