Woman ‘dupes’ investment bank of Rs 3.5 cr, arrested

POWAI police have arrested a 40-year-old woman for allegedly cheating a multinational investment bank and financial services company out of Rs 3.5 crore. The woman, who worked with the company for 16 years as a personal assistant (PA) to an executive director, deceived them by fraudulently purchasing gift certificates in the company’s name, police said.

The woman, Manpreet Shahani, was apprehended at her home in Kandivali. Police said Shahani was responsible for ordering gift certificates on behalf of the company.

“The company has a policy of rewarding high-performing employees with gift certificates. They would be either Rs 3,000 or Rs 1,000 depending on their performance. The head of every department across India used to go to Shahani for gift cards as she was given the responsibility of ordering the gift cards for the company,” an official said.

During the investigation, the police learned that Shahani would order more vouchers than needed and that she would take the excess vouchers home and cash them.

Police said she committed the offense from 2016 to 2018. However, the incident came to light in January 2019, when the company’s administrative department discovered suspicious transactions in her bank account.

Shahani had ordered 2,600 gift cards worth Rs 29.90 lakh in November 2018. As there was no demand for such gift cards from any department across India, the administrative department has found something wrong and reported the matter to higher bank authorities.

“Shahani was on sick leave when the crime was discovered, however, when the administrative department contacted her to inquire about the transaction, she allegedly told them that the gift cards were in the office only. She then went keep those 2,600 gift cards cashed in the office. She then resigned and left the job in February 2019,” an officer said.

The company’s vigilance service discovered that it had abused the process for years and had fraudulently acquired gift cards worth Rs 3.5 crore.

The vice president of the company reported the matter to the Powai Police Station on January 17, 2020, after which a case was registered under Sections 408 (criminal breach of trust by clerk or servant) and 420 ( deception) of the Indian Penal Code.

“Shahani learned that a case had been filed against her, after which she applied to a Magistrate’s Court and to a Later Sessions Court for early bail. Her plea was dismissed. The High Court of Bombay also rejected her claim recently on April 30 and since then we have been looking for her,” an investigator said.

Police learned last week that she was at her residence in Kandivali, after which a team went to her house early on Tuesday and arrested her.

Senior Police Inspector Budhan Sawant of Powai Police Station confirmed the arrest but declined to release further details of the case.

About Joan Dow

Check Also

Baker McKenzie advises Pacoma on the sale to Legget & Platt | Writing

Baker McKenzie advised Pacoma Holding S.à rl in connection with the sale of the Pacoma …