Rs 1.25 crore vanishes, cargo firm bigwigs trade charges
Company COO says the vice-president swindled the money; latter claims he is being framed
Airlines losing precious cargo is old news, but Rs 1.25 crore going missing from an air cargo company’s coffers draws a few eyeballs. Chief operating officer (COO) Mohammed Ismail Khan of M/S Index Logistics Private Limited at Kabir Nagar, Vile Parle (East), claims that despite the firm’s belief that its vice-president S Balakrishnan Iyer misappropriated the entire amount, cops have refused to file an FIR. The latter, on the other hand, has accused Khan of trying to frame him. The company is a domestic air cargo agent of various airlines, and has business all over the country.
Speaking to MiD DAY, Khan said in July this year he came to know through a bank statement that Iyer had allegedly transferred Rs 1.25 crore of the company into his personal account. The funds were then routed into the accounts of some airline companies.
“When I questioned Iyer about this, he told me that the money had been paid to certain air carriers on behalf of the company. Firstly, our organisation was not supposed to pay the airlines. Secondly, even if there were any dues, they should have been cleared through the company’s account directly. But the sum was routed through Iyer’s savings account. When I probed further, Iyer mysteriously disappeared from work,” said Khan.
Khan also came to know that important documents relating to human resource department, blank letterheads, blank cheques, rubber stamps etc of the company were missing. Security cameras in the office were also found switched off.
“Through telephonic conversations Iyer admitted that he had moved the money, and said he would return soon,” said Khan. Later, Iyer allegedly switched off his mobile phone. Khan says he approached Vile Parle police station but senior inspector SB Talegaonkar refused to register an FIR, saying the matter was civil in nature.
Khan then approached a top cop who asked Talegaonkar to book Iyer. But the senior inspector allegedly refused to comply. “I approached Talegaonkar again but he threatened me saying if he saw me at the police station again, he would book me by taking statements of Iyer and manager of the bank where the money was deposited,” said Khan.
When contacted, Talegaonkar said, “According to our legal adviser, this is a civil case. Actually, the bank has been cheated by Khan and Iyer both. Bank officials have written to us that they are going to file a suit against the duo.” Khan has now sent a written complaint (copy available with MiD DAY) to the police station and economic offences wing of Crime Branch against Iyer.
“If I have committed a crime, police would not let me roam free. I have documents to prove my innocence. I also provided the same to Vile Parle police and EOW officials. The money has been transferred to an airline company. He (Khan) is framing me. He wants to mentally harass me. It is true that Santacruz police had arrested me three years ago, but that’s in the past,” said Iyer.
On July 1, 2009 the Santacruz police had arrested Iyer for cheating Patel On Board Couriers (POBC) of about Rs 50 crore. Iyer who was then vice-president of the company, allegedly used to take cash from franchisees and deposit that into his own account.
On June 27, 2009, POBC had issued a public notice through newspapers, stating that any person dealing with Iyer would be doing so at his/her own risk. An FIR had also reportedly been registered against Iyer in Ahmedabad a while back.