Four held for embezzling Rs.62 crore from Manipal Group
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Four held for embezzling Rs.62 crore from Manipal Group

Arrested include Deputy General Manager (Finance), his wife, former colleague, her mother

Bengaluru: Bengaluru Police have arrested the Deputy General Manager (Finance) of Manipal Education and Medical Group for diverting over Rs.62 crore from the company with the help of his wife and a former colleague. The arrest comes after a complaint was filed by Ranjan Pai, Chairman of the Manipal Group, at Cubbon Park Police Station in Bengaluru on Dec.26, 2018.

The Police arrested 38-year-old Sandeep Gururaj, his wife 30-year-old Charusmita who is accused of starting a company into which a part of the stolen funds were transferred, 34-year-old Amrita Chengappa, a resident of Andheri West in Mumbai and her mother 59-year-old Meera Chengappa, a resident of Koramangala in Bengaluru. Police are on the lookout for Amrita’s brother Vishal Somanna who works as a pilot with Qatar Airways in Dubai.

According to the Police, Sandeep, who had been with the Manipal Group since 15 years, had joined the company at the age of 23 and overtime  had earned the trust of the Chairman Ranjan Pai and his wife Shruthi Pai. He was authorised to oversee online cash transactions on behalf of the company. “When huge amounts needed to be transferred, the approval of the Chairman over a voice confirmation was mandatory,” the Police said.

The Pais learnt about the embezzlement of funds recently after Rs.3.5 crore was transferred to a Dubai-based company from one of their accounts in Mauritius without the requisite voice-confirmation approval.

Multiple misappropriations

“They then learnt that Sandeep had mailed the bank stating the Chairman was busy with board meetings and the voice approval could be taken later after the transaction was done. This raised suspicions and the Pais went through the audit reports of their company. It was then that they found multiple misappropriations by Sandeep who had forged the signatures of board members,” said the Police.

The Police learnt that Sandeep had been siphoning off money from the Group for the past three years, and had floated a fake company named ‘Sanctum’ in his name. He also floated another fake company in his wife Charusmitha’s name called ‘Beehives’ and transferred Rs.7.65 crore into her account from Manipal’s account.

Investigation so far revealed that Sandeep had transferred Rs.18.87 crore from the Manipal International Institution’s account in Mauritius to a Dubai-based fake company named ‘Vedanta General Trading Company’ which was in the name of Vishal Somanna, the pilot.

The Police then learnt that Vishal Somanna had transferred Rs.8 crore to his mother Meera Chengappa’s bank account in Koramangala. He had also transferred funds to his sister Amrita.  

According to Police, Sandeep had hatched the plot with Amrita. Sandeep used to work in the corporate office on the 15th floor of the JW Marriott building on Vittal Mallya Road. Meanwhile, the Police raided Sandeep’s house and seized incriminating documents as evidence.

Lavish lifestyle; shopping in Paris

After Amrita married an ex-serviceman, she moved to Mumbai with her husband and worked for Tech Mahindra there. Sandeep, meanwhile, used to lie to his wife Charusmita that he had to travel to Mumbai for work 15 days in a month, but was secretly meeting Amrita.

“Amrita led a lavish life. She shopped from designer outlets in Paris and went on holidays to exotic locations all over the world and Sandeep would foot the bills,” a senior Police Officer said.

According to the Police officer, as Sandeep was allegedly having an affair with Amrita, he trusted her family members including her mother and pilot brother.

Sandeep’s properties

Sandeep purchased an apartment for Rs.32 lakh in Padmanabhanagar, a 1,200 sq.ft house worth Rs.32 lakh at his wife’s native Srirangam, Tamil Nadu, a Rs.1.25 crore apartment in Kanakapura’s Prestige Falcon City and a plot worth Rs.20.25 lakh in Jigani.

He also purchased an apartment from the Lodha Group worth Rs.94.13 lakh in Thane and had also bought expensive luxury cars. Sandeep invested Rs.6.9 crore in FC Prime Market and AV Pvt. Ltd. companies, and Rs.10.35 crore in the share market with Pinnacle Assets Investment. He invested Rs.10.35 crore in MEMG International DMCC, a Dubai-based investment company.

January 9, 2019

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