Manipal Group: manager siphoned off crores for 9 yrs

Manipal Group: manager siphoned off crores for 9 yrs

Charusmitha and Sandeep Gururaj

Sandeep Gururaj, accused of defrauding Manipal Education and Medical Group (MEMG), adopted elaborate methods to route Rs 62 crore to the family of a woman with whom he had an extramarital affair.

The police said Gururaj, the former general manager of finance in MEMG, transferred the money over a period of nine years. Nearly Rs 52 crore of the stolen money was sent to Vishal Somanna, the brother of his lover Amrita Chengappa.

Gururaj (38) joined MEMG in 2004 and took over financial transactions after winning the trust of MEMG chairman Ranjan Pai and director Shruthi R Pai. Amrita Chengappa was an HR manager in the company during that time.

The police found that Gururaj formed about 15 shell companies, including 10 in various locations abroad, which were used to route money from the company account to his personal accounts.

One such account was opened jointly by Amrita's mother Meera Chengappa and Somanna in HDFC Bank, Koramangala. In 2017, Rs 9 crore transferred by Gururaj in three tranches was sent back to his personal account within 24 hours.

Gururaj got together with Amrita's family on many occasions, during which he met Somanna. They also invested in purchasing sites in and around Bengaluru, other states and even abroad, the police said. The police are collecting evidence pertaining to their investments.

The police said Gururaj had opened Beehive Advisors company where he and his wife were directors. He also opened another company, Sanctum Advisor, on his wife P N Charusmitha’s name. Meera had also opened Balambal company.

Out of the Rs 62 crore, Rs 7.65 crore was transferred to Beehive Advisors through RTGS. Both companies' accounts, which had around Rs 1.81 crore, have been frozen.

The police have sent proposals to various banks to freeze the accounts of the accused and also the 'benami' accounts of the accused.

The police recently told the court that the accused are not cooperating with the investigation. The police had taken the signature of Gururaj and sent it to the Forensic Science Lab to know whether he forged Ranjan Pai’s signature or Vishal Somanna's.

Gururaj had paid Rs 14 lakh to Amrita to purchase a flat in the Army Housing Complex at Whitefield and she named it as Sandeep Vihar.

Vaitheeswaran S, Group CEO of MEMG International India Pvt Ltd, has stated in the complaint before the Cubbon Park police that the accused have been committing fraud since 2012, but the investigation revealed that Gururaj had been siphoning off money since 2009.