CitiBank fraud not a systemic failure: Mukherjee

    By IANS,

    New Delhi: Terming the alleged multi-crore-rupee fraud detected at Citibank as an act of “individual misdemeanour”, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee Wednesday said there was no systemic failure and people’s money remained safe in banks.

    “There are regular regulations and all other precautions are being taken,” Mukherjee told reporters here outside his North Block office, when asked for his comments on an executive of Citibank being booked for allegedly siphoning off crores of rupees.

    “If there be any individual misdemeanour that has to be acted on, law will take its own course of action,” the finance minister added, seeking to assuage people at large who have money deposited in banks.

    Citibank also said it was investigating the fraud but assured customers that their money was safe. “This issue does not impact other accounts, transactions or customers of the bank,” a senior official of the bank said.

    According to the police, Shivraj Puri, a relationship manager at Citibank, opened three accounts in a branch in Gurgaon, on the outskirts of the national capital, in the names of his relatives.

    “He asked customers to deposit the money in those accounts in a scheme to double their money. When the money was deposited, Puri transferred it into his own account,” a police officer said.

    “The bank officials are still not sure of the amount but at least Rs.100 crore was deposited in the three accounts. The amount could be higher,” he added.

    A Citibank spokesperson said the matter came to light after an investigation into some suspicious transactions based on documents allegedly forged by an employee. The matter was then reported to the relevant regulatory and law enforcement authorities.

    Cases of cheating and forgery were subsequently registered at the DLF Phase 2 Police Station Monday night.

    Haryana Police have issued a lookout circular for Puri. His passport details have been sent to all international airports in the country to prevent him from escaping from India, said a police officer.