From digging wells for livelihood to siphoning Rs 12 cr for a day’s trading | Popgen Tech
Kozhikode: The Principal Sessions Court in Kozhikode on Thursday rejected the anticipatory bail application of Punjab National Bank (PNB) senior manager Rijil MP (32), who is facing charges of siphoning Rs. 12.68 crore from the bank. Investigative officers said that Rijil sunk the money in day trading, which exploits the inevitable fluctuations in the stock market.
But 10 days after the Kozhikode City Police registered an FIR against him, the police have neither questioned him nor know his whereabouts.
On Wednesday, the police issued a lookout circular against Rijil to stop him from escaping abroad, said Kozhikode District Crime Branch assistant commissioner Antony TA, who is leading the investigation.
Rijil is turning out to be a mysterious man. It left almost no digital footprints. He is absent from social networking sites. A Google search of his name throws up only recent news reports filed after the Kozhikode Municipal Corporation first reported the missing money on November 29.
And his friends and neighbors cannot recognize the Rijil reported in the media. “He is the type of model person that our mothers put on a pedestal,” said Adv Pragin Lal P, who knew Rijil from his childhood.
They grew up in Erimala, a village near the National Institute of Technology, Kozhikode, in Chathamangalam Grama Panchayat.
Rijil was a first generation college student and had come out the hard way. During his school and college days, he used to go with his father to dig wells and take up excavation work for KSEB to help the family put food on the table, said Pragin Lal.
His mother even today starts working under the rural employment guarantee scheme, said Ali Kunju, a former member of the panchayat.
They live in a small dilapidated house with a tiled roof. Rijil has a motorcycle and uses it to go to work and return to the small house, said Pragin Lal.
During the holidays, Rijil could be seen around the village library and never hesitated to help young people in need of guidance.
After his graduation from Malabar Christian College in Kozhikode, he joined the University of Calicut to do an MBA offered by the Department of Commerce and Management in 2012. “He stopped after six months. Maybe he got a job with the bank,” he recalled. faculty member of the department.
Some time ago, he took a home loan of Rs 50 lakh from his bank to build a house on a 10 cent plot. The house is ready. The family was supposed to move into the new house this month.
“He destroyed everything. His future. His parents’ hopes,” said Ali Kunju.
A man was engaged to be married but the woman called off the wedding after he was charged with fraud and criminal breach of trust. “Thankfully, he did not give a single paisa to his parents,” he said.
Rijil’s lawyer, M Ashokan, declined to comment saying he was out of town.
Assistant Commissioner Antony said that Rijil did not withdraw any money he withdrew from the PNB Link Road branch in Kozhikode. “In the last 10 days, we have followed the movement of money that he stole. That is Rs 12.62 crore. More than Rs 11 crore went into speculation trade, and the rest in Rummy Circle. There is no cash withdrawal, “is. he said.
The crime came to light when Kozhikode Municipal Corporation wanted to tap its professional tax received account to pay salaries to employees. This was in the middle of November, said Mayor Beena Philip. “We checked online and found that around Rs 98.60 lakh was missing from the account,” she said.
The corporation immediately called the bank and asked for a statement. “But within minutes, the missing money was credited to the account,” she said.
But what happened was that the Link Road branch had a changing of the guard. Rijil was transferred to the Eranhipalam branch six months ago. The new manager was clueless about the missing money and contacted Rijil, Antony said. “Rijil immediately transferred the missing amount to the Corporation account from another Corporation account in the same branch,” said the officer.
This raised the suspicion of the new manager.
The bank has 15 Kozhikode Corporation accounts, including two Kudumbashree accounts for housing scheme and nutritious food scheme. “Money was moved illegally in and out of almost all the accounts,” said the Mayor.
The new manager tracked the movement of money in his branch and found illegal transactions in at least 17 bank accounts, the official said.
The money was directed to the account in Rijil’s father’s name at Link Road Branch, and from that account to Rijil’s trading account at Axis Bank, said the assistant commissioner of the Branch of Crime.
The police froze the Axis Bank Account and Rijil’s father’s account with PNB. “The Axis Bank account has only Rs 5 lakh and his father’s account has less than Rs 1,000,” said Antony.
Although money was stolen from 17 accounts, only nine accounts lost money because he was allegedly just moving money from one account to another to evade detection, the official said.
Of the nine accounts that lost money, five belonged to the Kozhikode Corporation and four belonged to private establishments and individuals.
Rijil was transferring around Rs 1 lakh to Rs 5 lakh to his father’s account every day, the official said. “There were days when he made three illegal transactions worth Rs 5 lakh each,” the officer said.
Antony said that Rijil may have made more than 250 such illegal transactions in the last year and a half.
When asked about SMS alerts sent to phones, the official said some of the mobile numbers registered with the bank accounts of the municipal corporation belonged to its former employees. “What I found during the investigation is that people were not very attentive to warnings (from banks),” he said.
He, however, added that the police will investigate if the bank’s warning system was tampered with.
He said that Rijil was able to transfer money into accounts at Link Road sitting at the Eranhipalam branch. “This is a cause for concern. We want to see if there was a lapse on the part of PNB,” he said.
When the bank went back to the Municipal Corporation with the details of the fraud, it filed a police complaint with the Kozhikode City Police Station on November 29.
The police charged Rijil with cheating (Section 420 of the IPC) and criminal breach of trust by a banker (Section 409 of the IPC). If convicted, he could be imprisoned for the rest of his life.
Antony said the investigation so far pointed to a “one man game”. “In all probability, he is drawn into the trading of speculation, which is more or less gambling if done without strategy or knowledge of the market,” he said. And you want to make money at the end of the day’s session, regardless of how the stocks or the market index went.
A bank official said that Rs 12 crore was too big a game for one bank manager. “If a manager saves Rs 50,000 a month, he will save only about Rs 2 crore to Rs 3 crore when he retires after 30 years. So you know how criminally big his game was,” the official said.
Rijil was on the list to be promoted to chief manager at the age of 32.
PNB’s Link Road manager refused to speak to Onmanorama. PNB Kozhikode circle chief N Ramachandran did not attend calls made to his office and mobile phone.
Mayor Beena Philip said that the Municipal Corporation will get its money from PNB. “But the police should investigate how one person managed to remove crores of rupees from a bank without his higher officials getting a whiff of it until we came to know,” she said.