Fake SBI branch busted in TN; teenager held for forgery

A week ago the customers in Panruti Bazaar neighborhood were surprised to find a new SBI branch in the area

State Bank of India, Central Bureau of Investigation, loan defaulter, money laundering,
Police say the fake branch was started in April when strict curbs under the COVID lockdown was in place. Photo: PTI

In a bizarre case of forgery, a teenager and two others were arrested on Saturday (July 11) for opening a fake branch of SBI in Panruti in Cuddalore district of Tamil Nadu.

A week ago the customers in Panruti Bazaar neighborhood were surprised to find a new SBI branch in the area. Right from lockers and computer systems to challans and receipts, everything was in place in the new branch. Except, it was all fake.

According to the police, 19-year-old Kamal Babu was the son of two former bank employees and was well versed with all banking operations. He along with two other accomplices A. Kumar (42), M. Manickam (52) had brought computers, lockers, challans, receipts and even a cash counting machine needed “to run a bank branch,” on an upper floor of his residence at Panruti.

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The SBI Panruti manager received a tip off from a customer that a man was “opening an SBI branch and has challans as well.” The manager lodged a complaint with police seeking action following the tip-off.

Following questioning, he was arrested for forgery and possession of counterfeit seals. Kumar and Manickam who printed the challans and fake seals were held for similar offences and abetment.

Police say the fake branch was started in April when strict curbs under the COVID lockdown was in place, making it easier to avoid scrutiny. Panruti police inspector K. Ambethkar said that no complaints of soliciting deposits or facilitating loans were received from customers.

Investigations revealed that he aspired to work for a bank and since he had closely watched banking operations for long he was “very knowledgeable” about it.

(With inputs from PTI)

 

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