ICICI Bank transfers Rs 3.9 cr without due diligence

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The manager of an ICICI Bank branch transferred Rs 3.9 crore to the account of a man who forged the cheques of a Belagavi-based NGO head Harshada Dhammanagi. 

Police have detained 36-year-old Prasad K, the manager of the ICICI Bank Ramamurthy Nagar branch, to find out his precise involvement in the fraud case. 

On July 3, Prasad filed a complaint claiming that a man named K Harish had visited his branch and presented a cheque for Rs 3.9 crore to be transferred to an account in the ICICI Bank Cunningham Road branch. 

Prasad claimed to have called the account holder and confirmed the transaction, though he received an e-mail the same evening from the account holder — Harshada of Shri A V Dhammanagi Vision Foundation — saying he did not issue the cheque and someone had forged his signature. After inquiries, the manager learnt that the cheque was a fake.

The accused, on the other hand, transferred the money to different accounts from the Cunningham Road branch and withdrew the amount. 

Ramamurthy Nagar police inspector Sanjeevrayappa told DH that the manager had been arrested for negligence. As the branch manager, he should have exercised due diligence to ensure that the transfer of such a large sum was legitimate. 

“He said he contacted the account holder over phone and cleared the transfer, but the accused had blocked Harshada’s SIM card and obtained a duplicate SIM card in the number he had registered with the bank,” he said.

“Prasad could’ve taken precautions to verify the authenticity of the cheque and delayed the transaction until he received confirmation from the account holder,” the police official added.

Police said the transaction was rushed through and Prasad made the staff call the account holder’s number for evidence. Three days after the money was transferred, on July 6, police arrested three people in the case.

The men arrived at ICICI Bank’s Nelamangala branch in a brand new car and walked in with a gunny bag of cash and an offer to deposit Rs 1.09 crore in a specific account. 

But they offered to deposit only Rs 30 lakh. The manager grew suspicious and called the Nelamangala police. Unable to explain the cash, the trio admitted to the forgery. 

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