The case pertains to some suspects submitting "fake" fixed deposit receipts with the port trust.

Officials at the Directorate of Enforcement office in New DelhiPTI file image
news Tax probe Tuesday, December 28, 2021 - 10:35

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Monday, December 27, said it has attached 47 properties valued at about Rs 5.74 crore involved in the Chennai Port Trust fixed deposit scam. "ED has attached 47 properties, including 230 acres of land, 20 plots, gold, vehicles and bank deposits, total valuing at Rs 5.74 crore, involved in the Term Deposit Fraud pertaining to Chennai Port Trust," the ED said in a tweet.

India's premier investigation agency, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had earlier said that it has filed charge sheet against 18 accused on the allegation of causing a loss of about Rs 45.40 crore to Indian Bank. In November, the CBI had said it had filed a charge sheet against the then Branch Manager, Indian Bank, Koyambedu Branch here and private persons in the case of foreclosing the fixed deposits in the name of Chennai Port Trust.

The CBI had registered a case on July 31, 2020 on a complaint from Indian Bank, Chennai against two private persons — Branch Manager at the Indian Bank (Koyambedu Branch) in Chennai and other unknown public servants and private persons on the allegations of committing fraud, forgery, impersonation with the intention to cheat the bank to the tune of about Rs 100.57 crore. It was further alleged that a loss to the tune of Rs 45.4 crore was caused to Indian Bank by way of foreclosing/pre-closing of several term deposits created in the name of Chennai Port Trust and also transferring/withdrawing the said amount through various accounts.

Searches were earlier conducted around 28 places in Tamil Nadu and Kerala which led to recovery of several incriminating materials and evidence, the CBI had said. During investigation, 12 persons were arrested, including two foreign nationals, then Branch Manager, Indian Bank and they are presently in judicial custody, the CBI said.

According to CBI, the accused allegedly exploited the situation of investment of surplus cash available with Chennai Port Trust in the form of Term Deposits/Fixed Deposits with the banks for earning interest through limited tender process and also the willingness of the bank to attract investment in the form of term deposits. It was alleged that the fraudsters exploited the said situation to their benefit by approaching the Indian Bank Branch Manager and also Chennai Port Trust and enticed/induced the former to participate in the tender.

It was further alleged that the bank manager in conspiracy with other accused accepted the proposed investment and actively participated in the bidding floated by Chennai Port Trust by quoting an arbitrarily higher interest rate for the proposed investment than the maximum allowable interest rate of the bank with the intention to win the bid.

Indian Bank, Koyambedu branch was successful in five tenders floated by Chennai Port Trust and got the investment in the form of term deposits of about Rs 100.57 crore during the period between March and May 2020. The CBI said the bank manager instead of handing over the fixed deposit receipts to Chennai Port Trust gave it to the fraudsters. The fraudsters in turn created forged fixed deposit receipts and submitted the same to the Chennai Port Trust.

One of the accused allegedly impersonated himself as Deputy Director (Finance) of Chennai Port Trust and opened a fake current account in the name of Chennai Port Trust at Koyambedu Branch, Indian Bank.

With the original bonds in possession, the accused allegedly presented the same before Indian Bank, Koyambedu Branch and pre-closed the term deposits one after another within a few days of the original deposit.

The money received from the pre-closure of term deposits was allegedly credited into the fake Chennai Port Trust current account opened by the accused and subsequently transferred to 34 different accounts. This money was withdrawn by the 27 account holders and handed over to the accused persons.

In that process, a total of Rs 100.57 crore was transferred from Chennai Port Trust in five investments against which 45 term deposits of different amounts were created, CBI said. Of the total amount invested, Rs 55.19 crore were frozen after the detection of the fraud and remaining Rs 45.4 crore were swindled by the accused, CBI added. 

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