KOCHI: In a dramatic turn of events, the police on Monday arrested two directors of an emerging mobile phone company on charges of duping a leading bank of Rs 2.68 crore.
Brothers Anto Augustine, 32, and Josekutty Augustine, 24, of Mundananiyil, Kalpetta, were arrested on the day of the launch of the 3G smart-phone developed by Kochi-based mPhone Electronics and Technologies.
According to the police, the duo defrauded the Kalamassery branch of Bank of Baroda by forging documents of a property. The accused, who allegedly submitted records of a land that was already pledged for Rs 11.57 crore, had been absconding for a year.
The police said the duo cheated various leading banks, including State Bank of India (SBI), of huge amounts using the modus operandi. “A case has been registered based on a complaint lodged by Bank of Baroda authorities, and a detailed inquiry is underway,” they said. Acting on a tip-off by the bank authorities, after seeing photographs of the accused on Facebook, a team led by Kalamassery CI Martin C J took the accused into custody at a hotel where the launch ceremony of the smart-phone was being organised.
According to officials of mPhone Electronics, or Mango Phone, the company is owned by Anto Augustine, Josekutty Augustine and their other sibling Rojy Augustine, who is chairman of the company.
Meanwhile, Rojy John alleged there was mystery over the arrest of the directors just a few hours before the launch ceremony. “We have no knowledge about the complaint lodged by Bank of Baroda.
The police neither probed the matter nor did they ever seek our explanation. The police were acting under pressure from someone who wants to sabotage the company,” he said.
According to the promoters, the company had invested around Rs 3,500 crore to launch its new mobile phone brand - 3G and 4G models priced between Rs 5,800 and Rs 34,000.
The company, which has more than four years of handset manufacturing experience, has a research and development centre in Korea and the main manufacturing unit in Shenzhen, China.
The police first took the accused to the venue of the launch ceremony, and later produced them before the Kalamassery Judicial First Class Magistrate.