Loan fraud uncovered at ONGC asset in Gujarat

Vol 22, PW 1 (18 Oct 18) People & Policy

Investigators have launched an inquiry into an alleged fraud at an ONGC cooperative society that offers soft loans to employees at its Ahmedabad asset.

On September 17 police in the Sabarmati area of Ahmedabad received a complaint from ONGC executive engineer Karansinh Raj, secretary of the ONGC Employee's Cooperative Credit and Thrift Society. In his complaint, Raj alleges Rs6.41cr ($871,400) has disappeared from the accounts after it was loaned using fake identity documents and forged signatures.

As prime accused, Raj names the society's now deceased former vice-chairman DK Patel and its clerk Randhirsinh Jadhav as well as other office-bearers and committee members. According to Raj's complaint, he discovered irregularities at the society soon after taking charge in 2016.

Loans were shown on the books to members who had not taken the money and cheques issued with fake signatures. Raj quickly informed DK Patel who nonchalantly told him not to worry as all loans would be recovered soon.

Suspicious, Raj looked deeper to discover the alleged fraud took place between 2012 and October 2016. A special audit carried out in 2016-17 showed Rs24.99cr ($3.4m) had been loaned to different members but only Rs18.58cr ($2.5m) was accounted for while the difference (Rs6.41cr) had been fraudulently diverted using bogus names.

A police source tells this report inquiries are continuing and confirms an apparent mismatch between Company Provident Fund numbers and the names of employees.