Jail for ex-bank official over Rs.7 crore fraud

New Delhi, Nov 7 (IANS) A former bank official was sentenced to one year jail and two other accused were handed down three years' imprisonment each by a special court here in a Rs.7 crore corruption and cheating case.

Central Bureau Of Investigation (CBI) Special Judge Manoj Jain, in an order made available Wednesday, awarded one year's imprisonment to former Oriental Bank of Commerce official Ram Kumar, 65, under graft charges. The court also slapped a fine of Rs.20,000 on him.

The court also awarded three years' jail sentence to two co-accused Uma Bhatla and Manjeet Kumar Anand for the offence of cheating and slapped a fine of Rs.25,000 each on them.

"The prosecution has underlined and stressed that convict Manjeet Kumar Anand and Uma Bhatla had a pivotal role to play as Uma Bhatla was the key facilitator being instrumental in procuring the signatures of authorised signatories and convict Manjeet Anand tried to befool all by churning a concocted story," observed the court.

The court was hearing a case against the three accused for causing loss of Rs.7.98 crore to the bank.

The court noted that convict Ram Kumar stole six blank draft books from the bank which were ultimately utilised by the co-accused and the money was illegally siphoned off.

"The six illegally removed draft books containing 150 leaves in all and 140 draft leaves were shown used for purchasing gold from accused Manjeet Kumar Anand during the period May 1999 till November 1999," the prosecution alleged.

"According to accused Anand, he had sold gold to customers and while purchasing gold, they all had made payment through said drafts," prosecution had alleged.

The prosecution said that the 140 demand drafts, carrying forged signatures, were cleared for payment by the bank.