Noida: Eight men, including residents of upmarket Delhi-NCR societies and a deputy bank manager, were arrested on Thursday in connection with misappropriation of Rs 1.65 crore of the Pashchimanchal Vidyut Vitaran Nigam Limited (PVVNL).
Only two weeks ago the western wing of UP power corporation had alleged a major scam to the tune of Rs 1.77 crore paid by the consumers by cheques and demand drafts (DDs). Now, the arrest of the eight came as a bolt from the blue.
The PVVNL accused three of its former and an equal number of serving contractual employees of embezzlement. According to the power corporation, instead of its account in Noida's Sector 50 branch of ICICI Bank, they (the accused) deposited the amount in a Bulandshahr branch of Punjab National Bank (PNB).
A deputy manager of the PNB branch and an employee of private data service providing agency were accused of facilitating the crime.
The arrested accused were identified as Sachin Kumar (Ghaziabad), a native of Bihar, Vishal Sharma (Amrapali Princely Estate Sector 76 Noida) from Rajasthan, Manish Kumar (Ashok Nagar, Delhi) from Bihar, Ankur Bhaskar, Deputy manager PNB, Bulandhshehr in UP, Karan Singh (Sector 21 Jal Vayu Vihar) from Rajasthan, Jai Subash Vishkarma (Sector 24 Noida), Yatendra Chowdary (Ghaziabad), a native of Jarcha, Brajesh Kumar (Sector 58, Noida).
A ninth accuse, Anand Kumar Gautam, deputy manager of a PNB branch in Jokhabad, Sikandrabad in UP, is still at large.
The police on Wednesday seized Rs 12.05 lakh cash, demand draft worth of Rs 10.22 lakh, Rs 15 lakh in the savings accounts, property worth Rs 45 lakh from the accused. Over Rs 78 lakh of the total Rs 1.66 crore recovered.
During interrogation, Sachin Kumar, the mastermind of the scam revealed that he was employed with the PVVNL for 15 years before voluntarily resigning in 2010. During his stint at the corporation, he was responsible to deposit bills. Before leaving the job for a career in real estate, Kumar ensured that his friend Jai Subash was deputed in his place.
In 2019, Sachin Kumar met Karan, who was also formerly employed with the PVVNL and hatched a conspiracy along with Karan and Subhash to divert the money deposited by consumers to a fake bank account.
Acting on a plan, the trio tasked Manish, who was working at the Reliable Data Services, to collect the cheques/DDs.
Sachin, then, approached Anand Kumar Gautam, an employee at the PNB, to open the fake bank account with an initial similar to the PVVNL. But, Gautam declined to do so as his manager was strict. Instead, he introduced him to Ankur Bhaskar, deputy manager of the PNB branch who helped him open the account.
The Aadhaar card used in the opening the fake account in the name of ‘Eshan Electrical Engineering Under Drafting Design’ was prepared by one, Brajesh Kumar, who runs a computer shop in Noida. The account was opened on February 15, 2019.
Meanwhile, as they grew afraid of being caught, the accused started forging cheques/DDs of smaller values of Rs 300, 400 to complete the number of cheques deposited in the name of the PVVNL. Vishal Sharma and Yatendra Chowdary were involved in forging and depositing the cheques and Dds in the genuine PVVNL bank account.