In a major fraud that almost paid off, the Indian Air Force has been swindled of Rs48.41 lakh, with the amount being fraudulently debited from its "public fund" in Canara Bank in New Delhi.
The fraud was detected when only around Rs14 lakh had been withdrawn through ATMs across several states from the fictitious accounts created by the swindlers.
The fraudsters, who posed as retired IAF personnel, used fake discharge books and certificates of service to open bank accounts to which the IAF money was transferred. The fraud was detected by the Air Force central accounts office, which has now lodged an FIR at the Dhaula Kuan police station.
"The cheaters have presented cheques amounting to Rs48,41,900 with forged signatures to various branches of the Canara bank to withdraw money from the IAF's public fund that is operated from Delhi," said a senior IAF spokesperson requesting anonymity.
Apart from launching its own probe into the case, IAF has asked all its establishments to validate its public and non-public accounts. "The withdrawals were done using counterfeit cheques with forged signatures that were cleared by the bank," said IAF.
Noting that 15 cheques were dropped at drop boxes of the Canara bank at different locations between June 4 and 10, IAF said, "The banking system failed to detect the fraudulent cheques with fake signatures. The bank has agreed to reverse the entire lost amount to IAF's public fund as it was its responsibility to verify the genuineness of the cheques and their signatories.