News of Muhammad Ibrahim’s life savings being usurped by half a dozen officials of Askari Bank Limited took its toll on elderly man on Monday.
The 75-year-old Sangoat-born Kashmiri suffered a heart attack after being informed that his entire bank balance of Rs8.3 million has been zeroed as a result of embezzlements by six officials of Askari Bank Limited Mirpur branch. He is currently admitted in the intensive care unit of the state-run Kashmir Cardiology Centre (KCC) where doctors have termed his condition critical.
KCC Medical Specialist Dr Aurganzeb told The Express Tribune that Ibrahim suffered a stroke, followed by a sudden heart attack, and by the time he was brought to the hospital he had developed renal failure and had very high blood sugar level. “His chances of survival are slim,” Dr Aurangzeb lamented. “We have told the family members to shift him to any hospital of their choice for further treatment.”
Ibrahim’s nephew, who requested not to be named, said that his uncle has been settled in Middles Borough, United Kingdom, for the past many years and came to Mirpur on a visit. He said that when his uncle went to the Askari Bank branch to check the status of his account, the bank officials told him that his account has been emptied as a result of embezzlements by the bank staff.
The branch manger, Muhammad Ibrar, said that around Rs50 to 70 million were embezzled by “a few corrupt bank officials”, against whom the bank has filed a case with the local police. The branch manager, however, told Ibrahim that his case has been forwarded to the head office of Askari Bank Limited for formal verification and assured him that his money will be reimbursed in a couple of days.
The reassurances helped little to calm the septuagenarian who had a heart attack later that day, according to his nephew.
The bank scam was unearthed by the then branch manager, Shahid Manzoor, following a tip off. After credible evidences were made available against the six bank officials, they were sacked and criminal cases were registered against them.
Ibrar, the branch manager, elaborated that money was embezzled from a total of 30 accounts, of which 10 were foreign currency accounts. He said that over Rs25 million have already been transferred back to their accounts. However, he noted that according to bank records only Rs3.7 million were embezzled out of Ibrahim’s account, and not the complete amount of Rs8.3 million.
The accused bank officials include Imtiaz Ahmed, Chaudhry Qaiser, Malik Madasser Hayat, Muhammad Nadeem, Imran Latif, and Ahsen Mahmood. Only Imran Ahmed has been arrested, and the remaining five are on bail. Investigations into the case are underway.
Published In The Express Tribune, June 28th, 2012.
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