CBD Belapur police made breakthrough in scam and are pursuing the mastermind; the state exchequer defrauded of Rs 2.80 crore over five years
Aerial view of suburbs of Navi Mumbai. Representation pic
The CBD Belapur police made the first arrest in the CIDCO employment scam. The state exchequer was duped of around Rs 2.80 crore over the last 5 years (2017-2023) by a CIDCO employee involved in an in-house crime.
Sagar Tapadia, an assistant personnel officer at CIDCO, Belapur, orchestrated the scam using information from approximately 28 fake employees to defraud the state exchequer. Tapadia is on the run and authorities aim to arrest Tapadia before his anticipatory bail hearing on May 30.
“Our men are out looking for him,” said Senior Inspector Giridhar Gore of CBD Belapur police station.
According to the police FIR, the state exchequer was duped of Rs 2.81 crore.
Inspector Gore confirmed the breakthrough in the case, stating that Nandkumar Manjule, 40, a manager with Mauli Credit Society in Akola, has been arrested. Mastermind, Tapadia, also has connections to Akola and knew the accused manager.
Regarding Manjule’s role, Inspector Gore explained that Manjule opened 13 savings accounts in his credit society without verifying the mandatory ‘Know Your Customer’ (KYC) requirements. Additionally, Manjule would withdraw money from these accounts using withdrawal slips as per Tapadia’s requirements.
When asked if Manjule, was entitled for any kickback or commission from Tapadia, Inspector Gore said, “Tapadia, would help Manjule by paying him R10,000-R15,000, when required.”
Regarding the role of other banks or financial institutions, Inspector Gore stated, “We have found the details of other banks and financial institutions. It will be too early to make any comment on the role of any more people till we arrest Tapadia.”
“Our inquiries have revealed that Tapadia was using the personal details of the public who would approach him on the behest of getting some CIDCO work done and would furnish their personal details, including PAN, Aadhaar, etc., and he used the same scanned documents to open various bank accounts, which even the document holder concerned had no clue about,” said the police officer.
Tip the iceberg
DCP Suresh Mengade, who is also the Chief Vigilance Officer (CVO)at CIDCO, said, “I received a complaint a few months ago about TDS being deducted from the complainant’s bank account, as he was neither an employee of CIDCO nor had carried out any work for CIDCO. This raised suspicion, and we started our internal probe.”
“We learned the main accused, Sagar Tapadia, who worked as an assistant personnel officer in the personnel department of CIDCO [presently under suspension], was the brain behind this crime,” Mengade explained.
How crime was carried out
When asked to elaborate on the modus operandi, the Chief Vigilance Officer said, “The accused would raise forged bills by submitting fictitious and forged roll calls (attendance muster) of contractual employees who allegedly were shown to have carried out work on behalf of different departments of CIDCO. These bills were then personally presented by the accused to the accounts department of CIDCO and get them cleared. The payments would be cleared through the online payment mode to various banks, cooperative credit societies, and financial institutions where the alleged employees would have bank accounts.”
“Our inquiry revealed that the accused conned the state exchequer from 2017 to 2023 using fictitious bills of 28 fake employees,” said the CVO.
CIDCO sources expressed the irony that neither the accounts department nor the internal auditors detected any wrongdoing until the case came to light. This highlights the diligence and alertness of the CIDCO staff, and had it not been for the case, the embezzlement would have persisted.
CIDCO MD and Vice Chairman Sanjay Mukherjee has initiated an internal departmental inquiry against all involved, including Tapadia. A comprehensive audit covering the past ten years is underway, and preventive measures will be implemented based on the audit report, expected in a month. Internal system upgrades will also be carried out to prevent future incidents.