Mumbai: SoBo Family’s Accounts With ₹10 Crore Emptied, Former ICICI Bank Employee & Friend Arrested

Mumbai: SoBo Family’s Accounts With ₹10 Crore Emptied, Former ICICI Bank Employee & Friend Arrested

The court rejected the accused's pre-arrest bail and said his custodial interrogation is necessary to establish if he played an active role in the fraud.

Aishwarya IyerUpdated: Monday, February 26, 2024, 09:33 PM IST
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Mumbai: SoBo Family’s Accounts With ₹10 Crore Emptied, Former ICICI Bank Employee & Friend Arrested | Representational Image

Two persons, including a former ICICI Bank employee, have been arrested for cheating a south Mumbai family of Rs10crore. In 2019, the bank had provided Pedder Road resident Vasudev Valecha, 84, his wife and daughters a ‘relationship manager’, Ravi Sharma, to handle financial activities related to insurance, mutual funds, and DEMAT accounts. As the family comprised high-net worth members, Sharma would also bring bank-related forms for signatures. 

Details of fraud

In January this year, Valecha’s daughters realised that their bank accounts had no money left in them. They checked with senior bank officials and discovered that Sharma had quit his job many months ago. In the FIR, the police named another person, Dhwanik Bhatt, as the co-accused. Both Sharma and Bhatt have been arrested.

The police said Sharma and Bhatt are childhood friends and the former used the latter’s bank account to transfer funds siphoned from the Vaelcha family. Bhatt allegedly had knowledge of withdrawals made by Sharma but didn’t inform the bank or the police. Sharma, meanwhile, has disclosed that he also transferred Rs25.15 lakh to Bhatt for using his bank account.

Bhatt’s advocate Chandrabhushan Shukla argued that he has been implicated in the case. He argued that his client's account was used for the transfer without his knowledge and Sharma used several other people to execute the fraud. However, the court rejected his pre-arrest bail and said his custodial interrogation is necessary to establish if he played an active role in the fraud.

Bank Employee & Friend Arrested

Bhatt is currently in police custody till February 28 for interrogation in the matter. After Bhatt is moved to judicial custody, Shukla said they will appeal for his bail.

Both Sharma and Bhatt have been charged with offences under sections 120B (criminal conspiracy), 409 (criminal breach of trust by banker), 420 (cheating), and 465 (forgery) among others of the Indian Penal Code. 

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