Bengal ‘Online fraud’ case: Rs 2 crore seized from businessman’s car in Howrah

Kolkata Police claimed to have seized at least Rs 2 crore in cash and a large amount of jewellery from a businessman’s car during a raid at an upscale apartment owned by his brother in Howrah’s Shibpur area in connection with a case of alleged online fraud.

The car belonging to Arvind Pandey was parked outside the apartment of his brother Shailesh Pandey at the time of the seizure of cash and jewellery, officials said.

Police said a Canara Bank regional manager on Friday lodged a complaint at Kolkata’s Hare Street police station that some people had opened two accounts with the bank’s Narendrapur branch in the name of companies with fictitious documents and made large online transactions.

A case was registered under Sections 120 B (criminal conspiracy), 420 (cheating), 467 (forgery of a valuable security), 468 (purpose of cheating) and 471 (using forged documents as genuine) of the Indian Penal Code.

The two accounts were allegedly opened by the Pandey brothers, police said. “The two accounts were scrutinised and were seen making suspicious transactions with multiple accounts. It was found many had transferred money to the Canara Bank accounts on the pretext of pursuing some online courses on foreign exchange trading,” said a senior police official.

The two accounts with a balance of nearly Rs 20 crore have been frozen following an investigation by the anti-bank fraud unit of Kolkata Police have started, he added. None of the two brothers could be traced till Sunday evening, officials said.

Political war of words over seizure

The recovery of large amount of cash started a political slugfest in the state, with opposition parties attacking the Trinamool Congress (TMC). The state’s ruling party, however, said that such incidents showed that the demonetisation has proved to be a futile exercise.

BJP national vice president Dilip Ghosh said, “Whose money is it and where did it come from? Now that the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the CBI are keeping strong vigil, money will be found from different places.”

CPI(M) leader Sujan Chakraborty said, “People of Bengal are working outside the state at a time when huge cash is flowing here. Money is flying under the TMC rule.”

TMC Rajya Sabha MP Santanu Sen said, “It is evident that the demonetisation was a failure. Such incidents only show how demonetisation has been used to turn black money into white. We all have seen how crores of rupees have been used by the BJP to buy MLAs to stay in power.”

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