Wednesday, December 8, 2021
HyderabadHere's how Hyderabad cops unravel Rs 64 crore scam at Telugu Akademi

Here’s how Hyderabad cops unravel Rs 64 crore scam at Telugu Akademi

Published: 8th Oct 2021 3:44 pm


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What Happened

Rs.64 crore goes missing from the fixed deposit accounts of the Telangana State Telugu Akademi.

The Case so far:

• 10 persons arrested; More arrests likely

• Bank officials, Akademi staff, network of brokers involved

• Bank officials exploited technical loopholes in banking operations

• Scam took place over nearly 10 months

• Three cases booked

• Funds used by suspects to clear debts, real estate investment

• Recovery of amount a major challenge

• Three-member committee of officials is probing the fraud 

The beginning

In December 2020, Telugu Akademi officials decided to make Fixed Deposits Receipts (FDRs) in different public sector banks (PSBs) in the city to the tune of Rs.64 crore. The academy got the amount through its sources of revenue and State government grants.

The Akademi got in touch with a set of brokers who helped with the deposits. The staff issued original cheque and letter addressed to banks, asking it to issue FDRs for a period of one year.

The suspects

Chunduri Venkata Koti Sai Kumar (49) a realtor from Hyderabad is the alleged mastermind of the scam. He is a suspect in three scams – AP Minority Welfare Society scam being investigated by the Crime Investigation Department, AP Housing Board Scam and FDR Fraud of Northern Coal Fields in Chennai, both investigated by the Central Bureau of Investigation.

Others arrested in the case are Segoori Ramesh alias Ravi, administrative officer of Telugu Akademi;  M Sadhana – Manager, Canara Bank; Nanduri Venkata Raman of West Godavari; Venkateshwar Rao – RMP doctor from Khammam district; Somashekhar alias Raj Kumar, a realtor from Dharmavaram; BVVN Satyanarayana Rao, chairman and managing director, AP Mercantile Cooperative Credit Society; Vedula Padmavathi- manager (operations) and Sayyad Mohiuddin, relationship manager at AP Mercantile Cooperative Credit Society.

The scam

Sai Kumar got in touch with Ramesh, Akademi accounts officer. Whenever the Akademi wanted to create a FDR, they would contact Sai Kumar who would in turn send Venkateshwar Rao and Somashekhar to collect the cheque from Ramesh.“After the cheque and letter were collected from the Akademi, Venkata Raman and Sai Kumar with the help of their associates created fake request letters for creating the FDRs. The fake request letters were for depositing the amount for seven days to 15 days period in the bank as against one year as mentioned in the letter issued by the Akademi.

Similarly, they created fake FDR bond of one year deposit and sent those to the Akademi,” said Joint Commissioner of Police (Detective Department) Avinash Mohanty.The suspects had planned to share the amount and assured to return the amount within one year after investing in real estate and other business before the maturity date to the Akademi.

Bank managers Sadhana of Canara Bank and Shaik Mastan Vali of Union Bank of India informed the UTR numbers of Fixed Deposits to Venkata Raman and his associates, who used those on the fake FDRs. Both the bank officials played a key role in the scam, police say.After the short-term maturity of the FDRs in Union Bank of India and Canara Bank, the amount was diverted to the AP Mercantile Cooperative Credit Society Limited, where fake bank accounts were opened in the name of Telugu Akademi by submitting forged documents. The money was later withdrawn from the Society and distributed among the suspects. The police say the Society also got some share from the amount for rendering their service.

How the scam came to light

During an internal audit by Telugu Akademi officials, misappropriation of funds was noticed, and officials lodged a complaint with the Hyderabad City Police. A case was registered, and investigation was taken up during which the scam came to light. The Union Bank of India also lodged a complaint, and another complaint was lodged by Canara Bank officials.

Role of Banks

It is generally a practice in banks that on maturity of FDR, the amount is transferred to the same account from where it was received. However, in this particular case, due to involvement of bank officials, the amount was transferred to another account provided by the suspects. Later, it was withdrawn. Also, they exploited a technical loophole that if there are any discrepancies on part of the bank that result in loss to the account holder, the financial institution will pay up the money.

Where has the money gone?

Investigators are on a money trail. “During preliminary enquiries, the suspects said the money was used to clear debts and make investments in real estate.

The investigation is still on. A few more persons are to be nabbed,” City Police Commissioner Anjani Kumar said. The police suspect that the mastermind of the racket, Sai Kumar, who was previously involved in three similar cases, might have guided all the suspects to park their money in some financial institutions or invest in real estate to avoid recovery if the scam came to light. The police seized a few lakhs during raids at houses and offices of the suspects.

“Orders were issued to freeze a few bank accounts. Our focus now is to nab all the suspects. Once that is done, all the missing links will be connected and the money trail can be followed up,” the Commissioner said.

Also Read

ED to probe Rs 64 crore Telugu Akademi fixed deposit fraud

Hyderabad: Rs 64 crore fraud at Telugu Akademi; Case booked

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