The Cuddalore police, on Friday, busted an elaborate crime of a fake branch of State Bank of India (SBI) which has been open for at least the last three months in Panruti town. Police have arrested three persons including a 19-year-old man in connection with the incident.
According to the police, the branch was functioning in North Bazaar in Panruti town. The tip-off to a possible fake branch was reportedly given by an existing customer of SBI, who has an account in another branch of the same bank in Panruti. When the customer asked his branch manager if a new branch has been opened in the town, the perplexed branch manager asked about it to the officers at the zonal level and that is when the truth came tumbling out. The zonal officers reportedly told the manager that there are only two branches of SBI in Panruti.
Armed with this information, SBI officers visited the alleged third branch only to be shocked by the extent to which the accused had gone to make gullible customers believe that this was indeed an SBI branch. Not only was the layout of the branch similar to any SBI branch, but this one also had an extensive collection of stationery -- including cash deposit challans, rubber stamps, files etc -- with SBIâ€™s name printed on them. The branch also had a currency counter machine, desktop computers, a printer and dozens of colourful paper slips and notepads.
Based on a complaint, the police arrested Kamal Babu (19), the alleged mastermind of the crime. Two other men -- a rubber stamp vendor Manickam (52) and Kumar (42), who owns a printing press in the town -- have also been arrested. The stationery materials have been seized by the police and the building has been sealed. The police said that no transactions have taken place from this branch and that they have not received any information from the public of having been cheated by this branch. Further investigation is on in the case.