Four Arrested for Ram Temple Trust Account Fraud


Arshad Afzaal Khan

AYODHYA — In a major breakthrough, four people were arrested for fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 6 lakh from Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trusts bank account in September, said Ayodhya DIG Deepak Kumar on Tuesday.

According to the police, the amount was transferred to the Punjab National Bank in Maharashtra from Ayodhya’s State Bank of India using two cloned cheques of Rs 2.5 lakh and Rs 3.5 lakh with the forged signatures of the trustees.

The scam was busted after a third cloned cheque was intercepted at a SBI clearing house in Lucknow.

It on the first day of September and for 10 days, the Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust was in the dark about the fraudulent withdrawals till a third cloned cheque of Rs 9.86 lakh was presented at a Bank of Baroda’s branch and sent to SBI for clearing. Alarm bells rang when a senior bank official intercepted the cheque and made repeated calls to Trust secretary Champat Rai to verify whether he had signed on the high-value cheque.

The transaction was stopped immediately after Rai confirmed that he did not approve of any withdrawal and the account was seized.

An FIR was lodged at the Ayodhya police station against Champat Rai on September 10.

Those arrested have been identified as Prashant Mahaval Shetty (40), resident of Bombay, Vimal Lalla (40), Shankar Sitaram Gopale (54) and Sanjay Tejraj (35) all from Thane district of Maharashtra. However, the mastermind of this scam is still absconding, a resident of Banaras.

The Ayodhya DIG said that the involvement of bank employees in this fraud cannot be ruled out. — IANS

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