Mysuru: More skeletons are tumbling out of closets in the alleged scam at Mysuru-Chamarajanagar District Central Co-operative Bank’s (MCDCC) Hunsur Branch where the Manager, Ramappa Poojar, has been accused of swindling and diverting crores of rupees of public money into his private Bank accounts. It has come to light that though Poojar has withdrawn a salary of Rs.7,86,056 for his two years of work at the Bank, Poojar had claimed that he paid income tax up to Rs.4 crore. The information about the hefty income tax paid by Poojar was received through an anonymous phone call made to the main office of the Bank on Aug.29.
After the authorities received the call, DGM of Auditing Department S. Palaiah and Senior Assistant Y.C. Chowdegowda decided to check the accounts at MCDCC Hunsur Branch. They were surprised to learn that Poojar had paid up to Rs.4 crore. Investigating the source of such a huge amount, the authorities stumbled on evidences where Poojar had diverted the money that was to be given to farmers as loans to his personal accounts.
The authorities have reported to their higher-ups that prima-facie, it looks like Poojar had misappropriated public money. From 2018 March till August 29, Rs.26,99,60,179 had been deposited to Poojar’s account in over 150 transactions and his personal Bank accounts at Hunsur and Bilikere, there has been transactions up to Rs.40,75,53,206.
This apart, on Mar.28, 2018, Bandipalya Branch Manager Annaiah Gowda had transferred Rs.1,57,39,941 from his current account number 007019-66411 to the savings account of Ramappa Poojar on a single day. When the authorities examined the records, it came to light that whenever Poojar had transacted from his personal accounts, it had been mentioned in the Bank ledgers that “loans distributed to Agricultural Cooperative Banks.”
The authorities further discovered that several transactions violated the Bank rules as prescribed by Reserve Bank of India (RBI), MCDCC and NABARD. Also, the cash limit that has been prescribed to the MCDCC (Rs.12 lakh) has been exceeded many times and these funds could have been misappropriated by Poojar, the authorities observed.
Seven officers suspended
Seven officers of MCDCC Hunsur Branch have been suspended and three officers have been transferred in the light of the alleged scam. Also, reports have been sent to the Income Tax Department about the financial transactions of Ramappa Poojar, said MCDCC Bank MD Lingannaiah.
The officers have been suspended from Hunsur and Bilikere branches and the transferred officer include Ramappa Poojar. Others suspended include Bilikere Branch Manager Niranjan, Supervisor A.J. Naveen, Kumar, J.P. Krishna, Yathish Kumar, Naveen and Devaraju.
MLA demands criminal case
Hunsur MLA A.H. Vishwanath has demanded immediate filing of criminal cases against MCDCC Bank Hunsur Branch Ramappa Poojar and his accomplices for misappropriating public money. He also demanded that properties of Poojar and his associates must be sealed to recover the dues.
Bank MD made a scapegoat?
Meanwhile, it is learnt that some members of the Bank are conspiring against MCDCC Bank MD Lingannaiah and make him a scapegoat in this scam. It was Lingannaiah who unravelled the suspicious Bank dealings of Poojar by checking different personal accounts opened by Poojar and the scam came to light when the transactions at the MCDCC Bank and Poojar’s personal accounts were matched.
At a meeting of the Bank held in Hunsur yesterday, the misappropriation issue was discussed and heated exchange ensued between certain members, Directors and office-bearers of the Bank. Some members blamed Lingannaiah for letting off the information to media and they demanded that Lingannaiah must be relieved from the Managing Director’s post.