Chennai woman held in Manipal fraud case

The city police arrested a 32-year-old woman from Chennai in connection with the Manipal Group fraud, which surfaced in December last year.

The city police arrested a 32-year-old woman from Chennai in connection with the Manipal Group fraud, which surfaced in December last year.

S Balambal, an MBA graduate, is a friend of kingpin Sandeep Gururaj, who was arrested for defrauding the Manipal Education and Medical Group of Rs 72 crore and routing the amount to the family of a woman with whom he had an affair.

Balambal was arrested on Friday from her house in Chennai after an Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (ACMM) court issued a non-bailable warrant against her by dismissing her anticipatory bail on July 1.

Police said Balambal has been accused of laundering over Rs 2.54 crore, which was siphoned off from Manipal’s accounts by Gururaj.

It was alleged that on December 23, 2018, a week before his arrest, Gururaj and his wife Charusmitha, the third accused in the case, met Balambal and her husband Suhail at a resort in Chennai.

Police suspect Balambal was working in connivance with the other accused in the case and was doing natural gas trading in the commodities market for Gururaj and the other accused.

Cubbon Park police said the preliminary investigation found that Gururaj had sent Rs 13 lakh to Balambal’s account for the job. Her larger role in the fraud is yet to be investigated.

It was alleged that Balambal traded Rs 2.54 crore sent by Gururaj in the market and received Rs 13 lakh as her payment.

She was produced before the ACMM court on Friday and taken into custody till August 13 for interrogation. 

The Manipal fraud came to light after the chairman of the group, Ranjan Pai, filed a complaint with the Cubbon Park police. The police on December 27, 2018, arrested four individuals, including three women.

Sandeep Gururaj (38) and wife P N Charusmita (30), both residents of Chikkalasandra; Meera Chengappa (59), a resident of Koramangala; and her daughter Amrita Chengappa (34) who was Gururaj’s lover, were also nabbed in connection with the case.

Amrita’s brother Vishal Somanna, who is a pilot in Qatar Airways, is still at
large.

Police said Somanna played a major role in handling the money and routing it back to Gururaj’s account.

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