BENGALURU: Four people, including the deputy general manager of Manipal Education and Medical Group, Sandeep Gururaj, have been arrested for allegedly swindling around Rs 62 crore from the accounts of the groups’ chairman Dr Ranjan Pai and his wife Shruthi Pai over three years.
The incident came to light when Ranjan grew suspicious of a transaction worth over Rs 3 crore to an offshore account, following which he approached the police. Among other accused are Sandeep’s wife Charusmitha P N, his former colleague Amrita Chengappa, and her mother Meera Chengappa. Another accused, Vishal Somanna, employed as a pilot in Qatar Airways who allegedly assisted Sandeep in executing the scam, is absconding.
According to the police, Sandeep had hatched the plot with Amrita. He started transferring money from the Groups’ account in Mauritius to accounts opened in Doha and Dubai with the help of Vishal. Sandeep, a chartered accountant in the finance section, was a trusted employee with access to finances of the firm.
Sandeep raised suspicion when Rs 3.5 crore and Rs 3.25 crore were transferred in quick succession from Ranjan’s Indian accounts. While Ranjan had authorised the first transaction by giving a voice-over confirmation, he wasn’t available to do so for the second one.
He was alerted when he received the e-mail seeking approval for the transfer. Sandeep used the privilege of being a chartered accountant in the firm to transfer company funds from accounts in Mauritius – where Manipal group has institutions – to the ones he opened in Dubai and Doha, Qatar, the police said.
After Ranjan got suspicious, he filed a complaint with the city police, who were able to nab the accused. Devaraj said that he had illegally transferred `7.65 crore of Ranjan’s money to his and his wife’s account. He also diverted company funds worth `18.87 crore from its international accounts to his friend Vishal, and invested `6.9 crore and `10.35 crore in different companies.Assets worth `1.81 crore, found in the accounts of the accused, have been frozen. Police are currently investigating the different companies to which Sandeep might have diverted money.