The Mumbai police on Friday arrested four more people in connection with defrauding Times of India of Rs 15 crores, taking the total arrest tally to 28, as reported by Indian Express.
As reported by us on 10 May, the Crime Branch has arrested 18 people after a complaint of cheating and forgery was filed by the senior editor of The Times of India, Derick D’sa, who has accused his personal assistant Amit Mayekar of making fraudulent payments to the tune of Rs. 15 crore over five years.
As alleged by the senior editor, the main accused Mayekar was tasked with issuing payment to freelance journalists but started creating bogus invoices under the name of individuals who never wrote for the newspaper. Mayekar then got the senior editor to sign these invoices which numbered in the thousands.
This scam supposedly went on for 5 years and involved 78 fake individuals, after which it was finally spotted by the auditors. Following this, the senior editor filed a complaint of cheating and forgery against his assistant.
As per a DNA report, Mayekar had been a Times of India employee for about the decade but started his syphoning much later. These fake freelancers are believed to have been paid about Rs 25 lakh to Rs 30 lakh each.
Under the latest action by the Mumbai police, the four arrested are the relatives of Mayekar and his brother-in-law Ameya Sawant. Following this, the four arrested along with Mayekar and Sawant were produced before a magistrate and sent to police custody till 22 May.
The report also quoted a senior police officer who claimed that Mayekar’s wife and father were also involved in this scam, for allowing their bank accounts to be used to route the freelance funds.
The magistrate is expected to rule on the bail application of other 20 accused in the matter on Saturday.