JAGATSINGHPUR: Balikuda police on Saturday arrested a former manager of Canara Bank (formerly Syndicate Bank) three years after she was charged with misappropriation of money. The accused Sohani Tapno (40), a former manager of the bank’s Parahat branch in Balikuda, had allegedly misappropriated nearly Rs 13 lakh by availing loan in favour of depositors from some self help groups (SHG) without their knowledge. She had been absconding after the bank fraud came to the fore and a local court directed police to nab the accused, last year.
Sources said, Maa Santoshi, an all women SHG of Parahat had availed a loan Rs 50,000 from the said bank for a self employment scheme in 2017. After clearing the loan the following year, the president of the SHG Malati Panda and secretary Usharani had approached the bank for another loan. However, bank authorities refused on grounds of non-clearance of a pending loan of Rs 1.5 lakh.
Since the group had availed no such loan, Panda sought intervention of Topno who was the bank branch manager then. When she avoided the matter, local SHGs alleged irregularities in the bank and staged protests following which Tapno was suspended. Considering the allegations, the new branch manager Jameswar Behera conducted an internal audit where it was revealed that loans to the tune of Rs 13 lakh had been sanctioned in favour of six SHGs and 11 other beneficiaries reportedly without their knowledge.
All loans were processed during Tapno’s tenure. The bank authorities then filed case against the accused in the local court in 2020. A case was registered and the court order directed Balikuda police to nab the accused.
While Tapno had gone into hiding by then, police launched a search and finally apprehended her on the day. Balikuda DSP Rashmi Ranjan Sahu confirmed that Tapno had fraudulently availed Rs 13 lakh loan on behalf of depositors. The accused was arrested and produced in court, he said.