Online Poker
Representational Image.Reuters

Goldman Sachs executive Ashwini Jhunjhunwala, who was arrested on Monday for swindling Rs 38 crore, had been under immense pressure to pay back his debts and was desperate to go back to his "high-flying lifestyle", said the investigating officers. 

"He had to do something to ensure that he did not have to give up the high-flying lifestyle," a police official told The Times of India. He added that Jhunjunwala followed the guidance of a former colleague, Vedant Rungta, who had suggested him ways to defraud more than $10 million from the company.

Investigation revealed that Jhunjunwala, who was a vice-president at Goldman Sachs, had lost Rs 47 lakh from playing online poker and had taken loans amounting to Rs 45 lakh from HDFC bank. However, he had defaulted six interest repayments on the loan and was under tremendous pressure from the lenders.

His desperation led him to contact Rungta on Facebook, who after lending him Rs 7 lakh rupees, suggested him technical guidance on ways to transfer the money.  

While Jhunjunwala deleted all his call and message records, police said they are in the process of identifying individuals he had financial transactions with.

The police registered a complaint against Jhunjunwala on Monday after the company's legal head Abhishek Parsheera lodged a complaint on behalf of the employees, who claimed that the senior official had swindled money by logging into their computer systems.

The scam was brought to light after an employee reported two questionable transactions that had taken place on September 4. An internal review committee questioned three junior employees - Gaurav Mishra, Sujith Appaiah and Abhishek Yadav - who were reporting to Jhunjunwala.

The employees complained that the VP gained access to the computers on the pretext of reviewing their work. He set up a settlement reconciliation service (SRS) for payment recall using the junior employee's credentials and would send them on menial errands to keep them busy while he would "review" their work.

Jhunjunwala admitted to the police that on September 4 he had approved payments for Rs 38 crore ($5.4 million) in two instalments into an account called 'Synergy Wisdom Ltd' in a Hong Kong bank, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, using Gaurav Mishra's credentials.