VIJAYAWADA: Taking a serious view of an attempt by unknown offenders to withdraw more than Rs 117.15 crore from the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund (CMRF) account by submitting fake cheques in three different parts of the country, Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy on Sunday asked the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) to probe the case and nab the culprits.
Fraudsters deposited “fake and forged” cheques at three banks in Karnataka, Delhi and West Bengal and tried to withdraw money, but the bank officials cross-checked the details with the State Bank of India (SBI) Secretariat Branch, where the CMRF account is being maintained, and found that the cheques were forged. The cheques bore the signature of the assistant secretary to the government, Revenue (CMRF) department, AP Secretariat, Velagapudi.
The assistant secretary, P Murali Krishna Rao, in his complaint to the Thulluru police, said they issued three cheques — cheque no 694499 dated November 8, 2019 for Rs 16,000 to Kolli Rattaiah, cheque no 792896 dated June 29, 2020 for Rs 45,000 to Konatham Hymavathi of Reddygudem, and cheque no 792893 dated June 29, 2020 for Rs 45,000 to Pathuri Ramya Sri of Ibrahimpatnam — after their CMRF claims were approved.The forged cheques with the same numbers were deposited at three different banks at three different parts of the country on September 18 and 19.
The first cheque - 694499 for Rs 52.65 crore - was presented to be paid in favour of Advaitha VK Hallow Blocks and Interlock at Mangalore in Karnataka on September 18. Another cheque - 792896 for Rs 39,85,95,540 - was presented on September 19 for payment in favour of Sharma Forging in Delhi, and the third - 792893 for Rs 24.65 crore - was presented on September 19 for payment in favour of Mallabpur People Rural Development Society in Magyahat, Kolkata.
Officials at the banks where the cheques were deposited contacted the SBI manager at the Secretariat branch for confirmation as the amount involved was huge. The manager, in turn, took up the matter with the Assistant Secretary, and when records were crosschecked, it was found that the cheques were issued by the CMRF for payment to some other individuals, and the payment was stopped.
Thulluru Deputy Superintendent of Police Y Srinivasa Reddy said they registered a case under Sections 170, 419, 420, 465, 467, 471 of the IPC and started an investigation. Special teams were formed to track the fraudsters who prepared the forged cheques.Meanwhile, sources said it is being investigated whether any government or bank officials had a role to play in the scam.