LAHORE: A relationship manager at the Akbar Chowk branch of a bank here is learnt to have ‘disappeared’ after defrauding at least eight people of Rs220 million.
Officials of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), who are investigating the scam, said that the victims were “promised a mark-up rate far in excess of the State Bank-sanctioned interest rate”.
According to officials of the FIA’s Commercial Banking Circle (CBC), the agency initiated proceedings against the bank official in question after the bank branch manager, Athar Raza, approached FIA director Zafar Qureshi and submitted his application against the accused.
CBC deputy director Basharat Mehmood Shahzad said that his staff had taken the relevant record into custody.
According to the inquiry report, the accused, identified only as Javed, told the eight victims that if they “invested appropriate amounts, they could earn mark-up as high as 16 per cent”.
Each victim deposited amounts ranging between Rs10 million and Rs50 million into the accounts of relatives and close friends of the accused without verifying any detail, the FIA report said.
Initially, victims received the promised mark-up, which the accused discontinued after some time, promising the victims “to pay the entire mark-up after some time”.
After a few months, when some of the victims contacted the accused to demand “at least the mark-up”, the accused expressed reluctance and acted in a dubious manner.
The victims, sensing that something was wrong, decided to contact the branch manager, informing him about the whole episode. The inquiry report said that the accused had transferred the plundered money into the accounts of his wife, identified only as Sana, her mother Kausar Javed and his brother Hafiz Asad alias Sunny.
The accused also transferred large amounts into the accounts of four other persons before slipping away.
The victims told the branch manger that they did not have any document to substantiate their claims, adding that they had cumulatively provided Rs220 million to the accused “on verbal agreements”.
Interestingly, none of the victims demanded any receipt or any other document from the accused against such a large payment.
According to the victims, they had approached the FIA and submitted affidavits in this regard.
At least five people have filed complaints against one Aamir Javed for handing them cheques which were dishonoured by banks. Four of the complaints were filed in the Model Town police station while another was filed in the Township police station.
The FIA director in Punjab, Zafar Ahmed Qureshi, said that the accused would soon be arrested and the entire amount would be recovered from him.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 7th, 2010.
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