Three arrested for Rs 60-crore cooperative bank loan fraud

The Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of Mumbai Police Crime Branch has made the first set of arrests in a scam in which fake loans worth over Rs 60 crore were disbursed by Mumbai District Central Cooperative Bank in Kurla, with hundreds of people to whom the loans were purportedly given being unaware of the transactions.

EOW officers said at least 23 cooperative credit societies were involved in the loan fraud, as they had forged bonds and customer identification papers to get loans sanctioned from the bank. The scam came to light in June last year, when around 400 residents of Asalfa in Ghatkopar and Kurla received letters from the bank asking them to repay loans they had never availed themselves of. The bank lodged a complaint with the EOW in July.

The probe has gathered momentum with the arrests on February 12 of Basavraj Chougule, Dayanand Thorat and Namdev Tapase, who are chairperson, treasurer and secretary respectively of Jivhala Cooperative Credit Society. More arrests are likely soon and 63 other accused being probed by the police, said EOW officers.

"The fraud involves around Rs 64 crore and was carried out by 23 cooperative credit societies in collusion with officials of the Mumbai District Central Cooperative Bank.," said police inspector S S Sohni of the banking unit of EOW.

Police said some of those duped had never applied for loans through the cooperative credit societies. Others had applied to a single cooperative credit society for a loan, but their papers were forged.

"The cooperative credit societies used forged bonds and identification papers of unsuspecting persons and secured loans. Proper verification of documents was not done by the bank and bank officials are suspected to have colluded in the fraud," said Sohni.

Additional Commissioner of Police (EOW) Rajvardhan said, "It is not possible for such fraud to have taken place without the collusion of some bank officials. This aspect is under investigation."

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