A gang of conmen used cloned cheques to withdraw Rs 6 lakh from the bank account of Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust in Ayodhya. The money was part of the collection of funds for the construction of Ram temple in Ayodhya, a police officer said on Thursday.
According to the police, two fake cheques were used to siphon off the money. The fraud was detected during the verification process of a third fake cheque, after which trust secretary Champat Rai filed an FIR with the Ayodhya police.
Police said the amount was withdrawn using cloned cheques of Rs 2.5 lakh and Rs 3.5 lakh. So far no arrest has been made yet. FIR has been registered under the Indian Penal Code (IPC)’s sections 419 (impersonation) and 420 (cheating), 467 (forgery of valuable security), 468 (forgery for cheating) and 471 (using forged cheque as original).
The Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust has a bank account in the Naya Ghat branch of the State Bank of India. Secretary Champat Rai and trustee Dr Anil Mishra are the two authorised signatories for this account.
On 1 September, Rs 2,50,000 was transferred to a Punjab National Bank account through cheque number 740799. A week later, on 8 September, cheque number 740800 was used to transfer Rs 3,50,000 to the same PNB account. The police said cloned cheques were used for forgery.
Following the same modus operandi, another cheque — number 740798 — for Rs 9,86,000 was presented to the Bank of Baroda. But this time, because the amount was much bigger, the bank called Champat Rai for verification. Rai browsed through the chequebook, and found the cheque bearing that number was still in his possession, so he decided to file an FIR with the Kotwali police station.
“We are currently conducting a preliminary investigation in this case. Till now it has been revealed that some money has been fraudulently withdrawn from the Ram Mandir Trust’s account by presenting two cheques in PNB. We are trying to find out who did this, and scrutinising CCTV footage of the bank branch,” CO Rajesh Kumar Rai told The Print.
“We are currently conducting a preliminary investigation in this case. Till now it has been revealed that some money has been fraudulently withdrawn from the Ram Mandir Trust’s account by presenting two cheques in PNB. We are trying to find out who did this, and scrutinising CCTV footage of the bank branch,”
However, cops have a suspicion that it is an insider’s job. Champat Rai, meanwhile, said he was confident the culprits will be nabbed soon, and that the trust will be on the lookout for similar attempts in the future.