BHUBANESWAR: The Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the Crime Branch on Sunday arrested a former executive of a Paradip-based coal handling agency for allegedly swindling over `30 crore from the company accounts.
Rakesh Chopra, who served as deputy vice-president of Karam Chand Thapar (KCT) and Bros Ltd, was arrested from Biju Patnaik Airport by a team of the EOW. He was removed from KCT about a year and half back and had joined another firm. Chopra, with help from some of the bank staff, had allegedly diverted huge sums of money over a period of time from KCT to a firm that he had floated.
Since he had been working with KCT for the last 30 years and known the business intricacies, Chopra apparently used that to his advantage. Preliminary investigation by the EOW said that several cheques issued to KCT were deposited in Chopra’s accounts over a period of time. The funds were transferred to a new firm which had been established. Another firm, floated by a relative in which Chopra was a partner, also received the funds.
ADG of Crime Branch B K Sharma said Chopra had also invested in a house and a restaurant in Delhi which will be part of the EOW investigation.
While he managed to divert the funds, Chopra allegedly also fabricated the bank statements to keep the matter under wraps. The bank statements, which were sent to the KCT headquarters for accounting, were prepared in a manner that it did not reflect the manipulations.
However, accounting check carried out by the company brought the discrepancies to the fore and Chopra was fired from his job and a detailed audit followed in which the fraud came to light, DIG Sanjay Kumar told mediapersons here.
Last year, a case was registered with the Paradip police by KCT which had put the misappropriations at about `10 crore. Later, when the EOW took over investigation, the volume of fraud turned out to be bigger. While prima facie there is evidence against Chopra for the illegal diversion of funds, transactions of the firm of his kin are also being looked into. The firm is located in Bhubaneswar.
Similarly, the role of the bank officials, which helped him in funds diversion, is also under scanner. “Since banking instruments are account-payee in nature, the cheques intended for KCT cannot be deposited to accounts of another person or a firm without connivance of the bank staff,” said an EOW officer. More arrests are likely in the case.