Mumbai: Bank staff use lockdown to ‘unlock’ dead doctor’s account, Rs 1.29 cr siphoned off with KYC ‘update’

Dharmesh ThakkarUpdated: Friday, April 01, 2022, 11:09 PM IST
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Mumbai: A Kolkata doctor who died eight years ago ‘came back to life’ after his KYC was ‘updated’ with a Goregaon branch of the State Bank of India. A whopping Rs 1.29 crore was siphoned off by two members of the housekeeping staff who had unauthorised access to the bank’s systems and managed to update the KYC and mobile details to transfer the dead doctor’s funds.

The SBI’s fraud monitoring team detected that the KYC details and phone number of Kolkata-based Dr Harendra Kumar Pal were updated in June last year. A probe revealed that the doctor had died in October 2014.

The team conducted further audits and found that the bank computer system was accessed by unauthorised people from the Goregaon branch, to approve the changed KYC and new mobile number. An internal inquiry was conducted into the unauthorised login into the KYC update system and the transfer of funds, following which a criminal complaint was lodged by the SBI’s Goregaon branch with Mumbai Police in January 2022.

Investigation and CCTV footage scrutiny revealed that the housekeeping staff had accessed the bank’s system during the lockdown. Police zeroed in on the housekeeping staffers, identified as Dilshad Khan and Altmesh Shaikh, who, on the pretext of cleaning and disinfecting the bank premises, accessed the bank’s systems to make unauthorised changes in dormant bank accounts.

“We have identified the accused housekeeping staff and our team is tracking them. Both will be arrested soon and this will shed more light on other bank officials’ involvement in allowing cleaning staff unauthorised access to bank systems,” said a police officer from the Goregaon police station.

The housekeeping duo, after replacing Dr Pal’s phone number with their own mobile numbers, made regular online transfers totalling Rs 1.29 crore to 10 new accounts. Both quit the housekeeping service agency in October 2021 and are absconding.

Despite repeated mails and calls to the State Bank of India’s corporate communications department for a statement, no response was received by The Free Press Journal, after three days of follow-up.

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