In a stunning case, cyber fraud have allegedly siphoned off Rs 7.79 crore from the Kangra Co-operative Bank’s current account maintained by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), according to a police complaint filed by the bank.
The fraud took place in three separate transactions on as many consecutive days, the first being on April 19, 2023.
Since the bank is financially supervised by the RBI and the current account which has been subjected to fraud is also with the regulator itself, the cyber theft has left top officials clueless. They have not been unable to ascertain the person who has withdrawn the amount through fraudulent transactions, even though Kangra Bank officials said they have been able to identify accounts in which the money has been transferred.
Sahdev Sangwan, Kangra Bank Senior Manager (IT), complained to the Delhi Police based on which an FIR was lodged in the first week of May and a probe is underway. Sangwan said in his complaint that Kangra Bank holds a current account with the RBI for banking transactions such as Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS), National Automated Clearing House (NACH), National Electronic Fund Transfer, Check Truncated System among others for its customers.
According to the process adopted by the Kangra Bank and the RBI, the bank has issued a standing instruction to the regulator to transfer Rs 4 crore from the current account to a settlement account everyday so that it can offer RTGS and NACH transactions to its customers.
At the end of the day or the early next day, the RBI sends an email to the bank with a statement of all the transactions that take place in the settlement account for the whole day and the Kangra Bank officials tally it. The remaining amount is sent back to the current account from the settlement account. ”On April 20, 2023 when the RBI sent the statement for all the transactions done on April 19 in the settlement account, the Kangra bank officials found something unusual. They realised that over Rs 3.14 crore too few was transferred from the settlement account to current account,” a source close to the investigation of the case said.
According to the complaint, the bank officials informed all the concerned authorities but no one could figure out the reason for the mismatch of such a huge amount. To their surprise, similar thing happened over the next two days as well when the current account received over Rs 2.40 crore and over Rs 2.23 crore too few respectively from the settlement account. The cumulative suspected fraud amount over the three days totalled to about Rs 7.79 crore.
Sangwan has said in the complaint that the Kangra Bank informed concerned departments of the RBI and other authorities engaged into financial security system, and also identified accounts with other banks in which these Rs 7.79 crore has been transferred. However, the person(s) who withdrew the amount through fraudulent transactions have not been identified.
The Delhi Police suspects cyber hacking or tempering as the accused persons seem to be unknown to the bank.
Started as a small thrift/credit society in March, 1960 by a handful of friends who belonged to Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh in order to offer financial help to the people of Himachal residing in Delhi, Kangra Co-operative Bank Ltd was born in 1972 when RBI permitted it to carry on banking activities.
With 12 branches at various locations in Delhi, it is one of the largest urban co-operative banks which administratively come under the Delhi Government through the Registrar of Cooperative Societies.