(Representative image)IANS

A former senior manager at a leading private bank in Mumbai allegedly stole Rs 96 lakh from a couple's separate bank accounts.

Harun Patel, the accused, was a manager at ICICI APMC branch in Mumbai. He had allegedly forged the couple's signatures on demand drafts and cash withdrawal slips and carried out a series of transactions amounting to Rs 96 lakh between April 2017 and February 2018.

According to a report by The Times of India, Patel had transferred Rs 71 lakh and Rs 25 lakh from Yatin Bane and Sneha Bane, respectively, to his brother's account.

The ICICI bank's regional manager said that a probe is underway and Patel has been charged under IPC sections for cheating and forging signatures.

Patel's misuse of the accounts was discovered a full ten months after the last transaction in the Banes' accounts when an account holder, Sonali Mithani, informed the bank in December 2018, that Patel had asked her to invest Rs 20 lakhs in a mutual fund in November 2017, but never received a receipt.

This made the bank launch an investigation when they unearthed information that Patel had syphoned Rs 96 lakhs from the Banes' accounts too.

"The bank has identified an act of irregularity at a branch. It has proactively filed an FIR with the police for investigation. It has also compensated the three customers who were impacted, ensuring no financial loss to them. The bank has also terminated the errant employee, in line with its zero-tolerance policy towards any act of indiscretion or fraud," an ICICI spokesperson was quoted as saying by TOI.

The bank's regional manager, Ankur Desai, said that they have lodged a complaint with economic offences wing with Navi Mumbai police. 

During the investigation, Patel confessed to having taken the money. He also said that he bought a piece of land with Mithani's money in Panvel.

"The fraud came to light after bank staffer Shweta Thuse from the Vashi branch contacted Sonali Mithani, who resided in London, to offer her the bank's investment schemes. Mithani told her that the accused had asked her to invest Rs 20 lakh in a mutual fund but she had not received any statement to the effect. This set alarm bells ringing and an inquiry unearthed the fraud," a police officer told TOI.