ED to probe Rs 64 crore Telugu Akademi fixed deposit fraud

Hyderabad: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) is set to begin a probe into the Rs 64.5 crore Telugu Akademi fixed deposit fraud in Hyderabad.

The central agency is likely to register a case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) and take up investigations.

As the case involves money laundering and the proceeds were used by the accused to purchase assets and make investments, the Hyderabad Police made a request to the ED to initiate the probe.

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The Central Crime Station (CCS), Detective Department has already 10 accused in the case.

Six accused, including mastermind Chunduri Venkata Koti Sai Kumar, were arrested on Wednesday while four were earlier taken into custody.

The arrests were made during the investigation into three cases registered on the complaint of Telugu Akademi, Union Bank of India and Canara Bank.

The case relates to the fraudulent withdrawal of fixed deposits from two public sector banks with the total amount involved being Rs 64.5 crore.

The fraud was committed by a group of bank agents in connivance with some bank officials and an employee of Telugu Akademi.

Those arrested include Sagoori Ramesh, administrative officer and in-charge accounts officer at Telugu Akademi, M. Sadhana, Canara Bank’s Chandanagar branch manager, Sheikh Mastan Vali, chief manager, Union Bank of India’s Karwan branch, B.V.V. N. Satyanarayana Rao, chairman and MD, AP Mercantile Cooperative Credit Society Ltd and Vedula Padmavathi, manager (operations), AP Mercantile Cooperative Credit Society, who is the sister of Satyanarayana.

Investigations revealed that a total of 43 FDs were withdrawn fraudulently between December 2020 to September 2021 and transferred to AP Mercantile Cooperative Credit Society’s account in Agrasen Bank.

While seeking the police custody of the accused for further questioning, the police informed the court on Thursday that out of the siphoned off money, Sai Kumar took Rs 20 crore while Satyanarayana pocketed Rs 10 crore.

A CCS official said in the remand report that one of the accused Nanui Venkata Raman, a realtor, received Rs 7 crore. Mastan Vali and Sadhana, the two bank officials, received Rs 2.5 crore and Rs 1.99 crore respectively. Absconding accused Krishna Reddy and Ramana Reddy got Rs 6 crore each. Bhoopathi received Rs 2.5 crore.

There was no mention of the money received by Telugu Akademi administrative officer Ramesh, who was the main link between the criminal gang and bank officials involved.

The police could not recover most of the siphoned off money as the accused purchased properties and made other investments. The ED is likely to identify those properties and seize them.

Mastermind Sai Kumar reportedly purchased 35 acres of land on the outskirts of Hyderabad. He also told investigators that he paid Rs 5 crore to a dealer who promised to supply diesel at low price.

Sai Kumar was involved in three similar cases in the past. In 2012, he withdrew the fixed deposits of AP Minority Welfare Society 2012 and the case is being investigated by the Crime Investigation Department (CID).

Sai Kumar was also accused in the AP Housing Board Scam of nearly Rs 6 crore and Rs 25 crore fixed deposit fraud of the Northern Coal Fields in Chennai. Both cases are being investigated by the CBI.

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