A Times of India investigative report has revealed that a multi-crore loan scam has been going on in some rural branches of SBI located in Virudhnagar and Theni districts of Tamil Nadu. According to the report, two individuals named Velumurugan and Shenbagan were the main culprits behind a series of loan frauds which were done by taking the signatures of daily wage labourers and listing them as ‘borrowers’.
The report states that the scam dates back to October 2017, when two men named OMS Velumurugan and his nephew Shenbagan had duped and fraudulently obtained signatures of as many as 169 people promising them government pensions and presented the papers to State Bank of India as farmers applying for loans. Each person was reportedly granted a loan of several lakh rupees. The loan amount was then credited into the temporary accounts of the borrowers and from there, the money was then syphoned off by Velumurugan and Shenbagan.
The scam was unearthed when the bank reportedly started sending demand notices to the borrowers. After a daily wage earner named Vijay Muthu Alaguraja lodged an FIR against the duo, eventually, as many as 400 different labourers had come ahead with allegations of being duped by the duo. Most of them were reportedly the workers in the factories owned by Shenbagan and Velumurugan.
According to reports, though the police had arrested both Shenbagan and Velumurugan on August 8th and another suspect yesterday on September 3, as many as 15 labourers under whose names the fraudulent loans have been taken have died in the past 6 months. All of them have reportedly died under mysterious circumstances and one person has gone missing. According to the report, the police had lodged cases of unnatural deaths and had closed the files. The police now say that the loan scam runs up to hundreds of crores.
The report says that both Velumurugan and his nephew Shenbagan had managed to avoid arrest for a long time and had even initiated insolvency proceedings to avoid legal hassles. This 60 crore heist was not even their first crime. According to Times of India, the duo had been arrested in 2013 for stealing oil imported from Malaysia and Singapore and cheating a company of Rs 18 crores. Shenbagan’s daughter Indumathi, who is a CA, is also an accused in the case. The collusion of bank officials is also being investigated in the case.