The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has attached 46 properties including 230 acres of land, 20 plots, apart from gold and high-end cars in connection with the term deposit fraud in Chennai Port Trust. 

The ED officials had conducted detailed searches at 15 premises belonging to the Chennai Port Trust officials, who are suspects in the case, across the state in June this year. 

The CBI said in the charge sheet that the accused had allegedly exploited the investment of Chennai Port Trust’s surplus cash in term/fixed deposits through a limited tender process, and also the willingness of the bank to attract investment in the form of term deposits. 

The accused approached the Indian bank Koyambedu branch manager and Chennai Port Trust and persuaded them to participate in the tender.

indian bank koyambedu splco
Indian Bank Koyambedu branch : Archive picture

The bank manager, in conspiracy with the others, accepted the proposed investment and took part in the bidding floated by Chennai Port Trust, quoting a higher interest rate than the maximum allowable rate. 

Indian Bank’s Koyambedu branch was successful in five tenders and got ₹100.57 crore in term deposits from March to May 2020.

The CBI alleged that after the FDs were created, the FD receipts (bond) were handed over to the fraudsters by the branch manager instead of the investing organisation. 

The accused allegedly forged receipts and submitted them to Chennai Port Trust, instead of the original FD receipts, which were submitted to the bank with a request to pre-close them. One of the fraudsters impersonated an official of Chennai Port Trust and opened a fake current account through forged documents in the name of Chennai Port Trust so as to transfer the amount from the pre-closure of FDs. 

Subsequently, the details of accounts were collected from several persons, and the money was transferred to these accounts based on the request letter forged in the name of Chennai Port Trust, the CBI said.

The money received in different accounts was subsequently withdrawn by the fraudsters, who shared it among themselves on the basis of the pre-arranged commission.

The fraud was committed one after another after each investment was made, and a total of ₹45.40 crore was swindled.

Of them, around Rs. 15.25 Crores was withdrawn by cash from the said current account by impersonating as a deputy director of finance of Chennai Port Trust. 

The remaining amount of around Rs. 31.65 crores was transferred to many bank accounts through more than 49 transactions. Soon after transferring the liquid cash, subsequently withdrawn as cash from those accounts upon luring the gullible account holders in lieu of a small commission.

The proceeds of crime had been invested in 230 acres of land in the Chennai city-suburban and a few other second rank cities in the state, apart from more than 20 plots, gold jewellery, high-end cars, and deposit in bank accounts. Further investigation is on.