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Bank employees swipe Rs 17 lakh from model's account

Anupama Verma says two former ICICI Bank employees created a debit card in her name while they were employed with the bank and used that to cheat her.

These crooks had really long-term plans. Borivli police have arrested two bank employees after they applied for a debit card in the name of model/actress Anupama Verma and withdrew more than Rs 17 lakh from her account. Verma realised her account was empty when a cheque that she had issued bounced.


The victim: The crooks withdrew more than Rs 17 lakh from the savings
account and fixed deposit of model Anupama Verma. File Pic


According to the police, the two culprits identified as Rakesh Vishwakarma and Nitin Sharma were working for ICICI Bank's Nariman Point branch in 2010 when Verma had opened the account and deposited the money. In June last year, the actress had gone abroad and so had not been able to check her account for many months, which was observed by the two accused. Police officers investigating the case said the duo was also aware of the fact that Verma had received a debit card but hadn't activated it.

Cashing in
Cops added that the crooks then applied for a debit card in Verma's name, claiming the previous one had gone missing. After they had quit their jobs they accessed various ATMs in Borivli more than 170 times during which they withdrew Rs 17.3 lakh. (Rs 13.3 lakh from her savings account and Rs 4 lakh from a fixed deposit).
After the withdrawal, the two started working for other banks.

"When I gave a cheque of Rs 7,500 to someone and it bounced, I was shocked. However, I approached the bank and lodged a complaint. When I contacted the relationship manager I was told that the next cheque would not bounce. However, the cheque bounced twice more before being passed in July, when some interest from my FD had been transferred to the savings account. It was only in December last year when I realised that my account was completely empty," said Verma.

"I had also issued a cheque of Rs 700 for another transaction. When that cheque bounced, that's when I learnt about the theft," added Verma who later approached the bank's head office, after which the institution paid her the full amount and reported the matter to the police. However, the actress says she is not done.

'Don't bank on anyone'
"I will also file a case against the bank. It was due to their negligence that I had to face so many problems and harassment. If my money isn't safe in a bank, then where else do I go? How can two bank employees create a debit card in my name with false documents and then use it to withdraw such a large sum and the bank doesn't realise something is amiss," she said.

Police officers investigating the case said that they had traced the ATM centre from where the withdrawals had been made. CCTV recordings revealed the two culprits making cash withdrawals.

"We then tracked down the duo and arrested them on Wednesday for forgery and theft. We are also trying to find out if any other present or former bank officials are involved in the matter," said an officer from the Borivli police station.

The two will be presented in court on Friday.

"First her money goes missing. Then the bank puts the blame on her and makes her wait four months to recover her own money. This is totally preposterous. We'll be sending a legal notice to the bank on Thursday," said advocate Hitesh Jain, who is advising Anupama Verma.

Bank says
"A fraud was detected in the account of a customer. ICICI Bank filed a police complaint based on which the main accused and his accomplice have been arrested. Bank has taken all steps to ensure customers financial interest is safeguarded," said an ICICI Bank spokesperson in response to a detailed email from MiD DAY.

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