MUMBAI: A special court here Tuesday sentenced a 67-year-old man to life imprisonment for fraudulently withdrawing Rs 1.04 crore from a bank by forging signatures of a Dubai-based NRI during 1996-99.
The court also imposed a cumulative fine of Rs 5.03 crore on Narendra Patel.
CBI court judge S R Tamboli convicted Patel under sections 467 (Forgery of valuable security), 420 (Cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property) and other relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
According to prosecution, Hussain Nensey, a resident of UAE, had in 1996 opened a term deposit of Rs one crore for three years in the SBI's Hughes Road branch in south Mumbai.
The fraud was detected in 1999 when Nensey visited the branch for a business loan against his deposit, it said.
During scrutiny, it was found that Rs one crore was withdrawn from Nensey's account using his forged signatures, and also an account was opened in his name using fake documents.
A case was then registered with the CBI.
The investigators nailed the role of Patel who connived with two officials of the SBI and a private person in the fraud, the prosecution said.
It was Patel who forged the signatures of Nensey and the latter's wife on bank documents, and illegally withdrew the money from the account thereby causing a loss of Rs 1.04 crore (approx) to SBI, the court was told.
The three accused, including the two officials of SBI and another person, were sentenced to jail for three years in 2015.
Patel, who was on the run, was arrested in 2016.
"He has been awarded severe punishment by the court as his role in the crime was more serious than the other three, as he was was the person who forged a signature on cheques and other bank documents," said special public prosecutor Chetan Kumar Nandode.