Published:May 21, 2017 3:06 am
A BRANCH manager with a national bank was convicted and sentenced to three-year prison term, along with two others, in a cheating case by a special CBI court. The court convicted Renuka Murthy, Santosh Nair and Satish Nair for causing “wrongful loss” to the Indian Bank by adopting fraudulent means.
According to the CBI, Murthy was the branch manager at the Goregaon branch of Indian Bank from 2001 to 2004. The agency has alleged that in 2003, Murthy opened two ‘open cash credit’ in the name of Metaplast Industries and Global Writing Instruments “without appraisal of correctness”. The other two accused were owners of these two firms and have allegedly not given correct information to the bank yet, they were allowed to transfer funds causing losses to the bank.
The CBI had also claimed that Murthy “destroyed and altered” the electronic record of the bank transferring lakhs in the two current accounts through purchase of the foreign bills above the pecuniary powers of the branch manager. The court found the three guilty under Sections 420 (cheating), 471 (using as genuine a forged document) and 467 (forgery of valuable security) of the Indian Penal Code and relevant sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act. While Murthy sought relief under the Probation of Offenders Act, the court refused to show “leniency”, observing reasons, including impact on “global transactions” as an NRE account was involved.
“The ‘trust factor’ involved in the business of banking, at one hand by the public at large on the ‘Banking Institutions’ and on the other, by the management on the officers … the impact on the developmental process, which is not only withheld, but damaged. The stimulation to others to go scott free or expectation of flee bite sentences even after being involved in graver offences and inclusive but not exclusive on the moral of the officers and staff working under such officers. Therefore, the question of ‘leniency’ will not be a factor to be considered but on the other hand, such offences are to be dealt with iron hand,” the court observed.
Murthy, in her defence, said that her prosecution and cognisance was illegal as it was not proved that she was a public servant under the Prevention of Corruption Act. On the alleged transactions, Murthy said that since there is always pressure of work, subordinate staff members assisted by her would scrutinise documents and it was not part of her duty. She further submitted that at most, the transactions could be called irregular and not illegal.
The other two accused, too, said none of the transactions were proved and since they had no access to the bank records, they could not have played any role in manipulating them.
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