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Citi fraud at Rs 400 cr: Police

In a report, the Gurgaon police says relationship manager Puri diverted funds to accounts jointly held by some of his relatives.

ITGD Bureau | January 9, 2011 | Updated 18:47 IST

The police has estimated the Citibank fraud perpetuated by its Relationship Manager Shivraj Puri at Rs 400 crore, involving accounts of about 29 entities including Hero Group promoters.

In a report filed with the city court, the police said that Puri was a "educated and clever person" and had diverted funds of companies and individuals into an account jointly held by his relatives Premnath Puri, Diksha Puri and Shaila.

Although Puri is in police custody, all his three relatives named in the report are absconding.

"In the fraud, transactions worth Rs 400 crore had happened...(Police is) taking assistance of Chartered Accountants. Inflow/outflow chart is being prepared in presence of Puri", the report said, adding SEBI is also conducting its own enquiry.

Earlier the police had estimated the total fraud at Rs 300 crore.

The entities whose funds were diverted by Puri into the account of his relatives include Hero Corporate Services (Rs 13.75 crore), OKS Sapantak (Rs 2 crore) and Satyam Auto (Rs 25 crore).

They also include Mayar Infratech (Rs 24 crore), Spaid (Rs 62 crore), Karopat Pad (Rs 8 crore), Sunil Kant and Sons (Rs 3 crore) Aero Infratec (Rs 25 crore), Hero Exports (Rs 97 crore), Rekha Munjal (Rs 5 crore), Munjal Investments (Rs 2.5 crore) and Munab Braej (Rs 71 crore).

Besides the entities named in the report, police further said that they were trying to ascertain records of other entites who had lost money in the fraud uncovered at Citibank's Gurgaon branch late last month.

Police said efforts were also being made to find out the properties owned by Puri and his relatives.

Police has also not being able to recover the iPad, a latest electronic device, used by Puri to communicate with his clients and store data, it said.

Giving details of the case, the report said, the joint account through which heavy transactions were undertaken was opened in September 2009.

This came to light during an investigation in December 2010.

The investigations followed a complaint that bank was giving abnormal returns on a scheme to investors. It was found that Puri had collected the money on the basis of a fake SEBI circular purportedly issued to Citibank.

Market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) later wrote to the bank saying no such scheme was approved by it.

Police also alleged that Puri used to give fake receipts and bank statements to his clients to mislead the investors.

The police report said that Puri used to divert money belonging to entities into the demat accounts held by his relatives in brokerage firms Religare and Bonanza.

"Puri has cheated both bank and the SEBI", it said, adding they have sought details of investments made through Bombay Stock Exchange and National Stock Exchange.

Police is also seeking transaction details from brokerage firms Religare and Bonanza.

The complaint in the fraud case was filed by Assistant Vice President of Citibank, Binu Somen, following which Puri surrendered on December 30 before the city court.

Besides Puri, Associate Vice President of Hero Corporate Services Sanjay Gupta was also arrested for his involvement in the case.

The city court today extended his remand for seven days till January 15. Gupta had allegedly invested Rs 250 crore belonging to Hero Group entities and promoters in the schemes.

- With PTI inputs

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