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Om Prakash Pathak, 21, an assistant in businessman Anil Thadani's office, and two of his associates were arrested Thursday for allegedly helping siphon off Rs. 12.5 lakh from Thadani's bank account in July, police said.
This takes the total number of arrests in the case to nine. The other six are part of a gang headed by main accused Muzzamil Tazdar alias Sumit Gupta, that has twelve other cases of bank fraud registered across police stations in Mumbai, Thane, Navi Mumbai, Nashik and Rajasthan.
The Mumbai Police Crime Branch said Pathak had allegedly been offered Rs 3 lakh by his friends Vishwambhar Mishra, 28, and Radhemohan Chaubhey, 28, to help them forge Thadani's signature.
"In July, Pathak passed on a cheque that Thadani had cancelled to to Mishra and Chaubhey, who, in turn, gave it to Tazdar, who copied and forged Thadani's signature," said an officer.
On July 31, a cheque of Rs 12.5 lakh was deposited at a branch of IDBI Bank in Andheri (West) into the account of Nallasopara-based firm S G Trading. Thadani, who immediately received an SMS alert, informed the bank and had the account frozen. However, before the bank could act, the suspects had withdrawn Rs 50,000, police said.
Tazdar and Salim Sayyad, 28, were arrested on October 15 and Shabab Khan, 28, and Kishorkumar Kanojia, 29 were subsequently arrested. Kaiz Ashraf Khan, 23, and Nabijan Ansari, 46, who are allegedly experts at forging documents, were also arrested in the case.
"Once we caught Tazdar, we were convinced that it was an inside job. We have identified the men who withdrew the money from the bank and are on the lookout for a Nigerian man, who was enlisted by Tazdar to hack into bank accounts," the officer said.
He added that Tazdar, Sayyad, Shabab Khan and Kanojia had opened several bank accounts in banks located in the northern suburbs using fake documents. "They had hired Kaiz Khan and Nabijan Ansari only to supply forged documents without asking questions. Tazdar had opened accounts for S G Trading in several banks in the stretch between Malad and Nallasopara," he said.