Mumbai Crime: Gang loots Rs 15 lakh in unclaimed cheques from insurance firm in Goregaon

Updated: Dec 03, 2019, 07:49 IST | Diwakar Sharma | Mumbai

One of the thieves would sneak into the firm's office in the wee hours, make away with cheques and encash them through fake accounts

Krishna Roy
Krishna Roy

A sneaky thief stealing unclaimed cheques from the office of a life insurance company has led to the discovery of a meticulous operation responsible for the loot of at least Rs 15 lakh.

The fraud prevention team of Reliance Nippon Life Insurance Company caught Krishna Roy red-handed and handed him over to Vanrai police recently. Roy had been sneaking into the company's Goregaon East office in the wee hours when security guards would be otherwise occupied and stealing cheques.

"The company has its head office in Santa Cruz East and branch office in Goregaon East. The office is in the process of shifting from Hub Mall to Silver Metropolis, where the premises' renovation is underway. Roy, 29, would enter the office when its two security guards would go to the toilet or be busy monitoring the renovation work," an officer from Vanrai police said.

The company had noticed the missing cheques sometime back but the problem could not be addressed as the staff was busy with the relocation.

A review of the CCTV footage showed Roy entering the premises and leaving with a packet. On November 27 and 28, Kishore Panchal and Vasudeo Tikam from the company's fraud prevention team lay in wait to apprehend Roy.

"At 5.15 am on November 28, Roy arrived on the seventh-floor office in Silver Metropolis. He was nabbed by the duo after he had stolen the cheques. There were 10 cheques in his bag, collectively worth Rs 15 lakh," said the officer. The total loss is in the process of being estimated by both, the company and police.

Roy's interrogation revealed that he is a small part of a gang that steals unclaimed cheques from insurers, creates fake bank accounts to encash them, withdraw the cash, and leave the accounts dormant.

"The gang talks in code words to avoid detection. We have held two more — Mahesh Pangare, 29 and Rajaram Pawar, 52 — from the gang. The mastermind, believed to be hiding in Thane, is yet to be arrested," said a police officer.

Repeated attempts to speak to a spokesperson from the Reliance Nippon Life Insurance Company did not yield results.

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