A member of a countrywide racket of counterfeit bank cheques has been detained here for drawing money using fake cheques. He belongs to Bihar. The fraud was unearthed in the main branch of State Bank of India here and a police team from Jagatsinghpur has been sent to Bihar to trace other members of the racket.
Chief Manager of SBI, Jagatsinghpur, Alekha Chandra Beura, lodged an FIR at Jagatsingpur police station after the fraud came to light on Tuesday following which police detained the criminal. Police refused to disclose his name as the investigation was on.
Beura said `4 lakh from the account of Bihar State Warehousing Corporation (BSWC) was withdrawn using a counterfeit cheque from the branch on March 16. The cheque issued by SBI Mauryalok complex branch in Patna was sent for clearance by local branch of Axis Bank. After clearance of the cheque, another cheque by Mauryalok SBI branch of `4 lakh was submitted at the Axis Bank ATM for clearance. “When another similar cheque came to us for clearance, we suspected foul and during investigation by our officials and checking of CCTV video grabs, we found that it was the same man who dropped both the cheques,” Beura said.
A similar fraud was detected in Kendrapara last week when over `21 lakh from the account of BSWC was withdrawn using two counterfeit cheques from SBI branch.
The fraudsters withdrew `21.32 lakh from the BSWC account using two counterfeit cheques. The matter came to light when the original cheques were submitted. The cheques sent for clearance were strikingly similar to original ones, police said. In fact, the SBI Kendrapara branch received the two cheques issued by BSWC from the same Mauryalok branch in Patna and those were sent for clearance by local branches of Axis Bank and Canara Bank. Bank officials had honoured the cheques as they found nothing wrong in them. However, the fraud was detected after Patna counterpart of SBI alerted Kendrapara officials that the cheques were fake. By that time, the money was withdrawn.
“Our preliminary findings reveal that the culprits are conduits of a countrywide racket of counterfeit bank cheques. Similar frauds have been reported from Jajpur, Gajapati and other districts of Odisha besides in States like Gujarat, Assam and Maharastra,” said Jagatsinghpur SP Satyabrat Bhoi.