‘Fake’ SBI Branch Unearthed In Tamil Nadu, Three Arrested; Probe Under Way

Chennai: Frauds and fraudsters have become a real threat in today’s society. But have you heard of a fake bank?

In an absolutely startling development, three persons were arrested for running a ‘duplicate’ State Bank of India (SBI) branch in Panruti, in Tamil Nadu’s Cuddalore district.

According to TN police, 19-year-old Kamal Babu, son of a former SBI employee, used forged documents to set up the fake branch through his contacts. A website in the name of the Panruti Bazaar branch was also created.

It was in April, amidst the nationwide lockdown, that Babu managed to open the branch along with A Kumar (42) and M Manickam (52). They were naïve enough to think that they won’t be caught.

Within a couple of months, the fraudsters were exposed.

The Panruti Bazaar branch came under the radar when an SBI customer enquired about the newly-opened branch with the manager of an existing branch in town.

On being shown a receipt he was given, the manager and other officials visited the fake branch to find a perfect bank-like set-up with all necessary arrangements in place. They immediately lodged a complaint at Panruti police station following which the trio was arrested under sections 473, 469, 484, 109 of the Indian Penal Code.

“Babu’s parents are former SBI bank employees. From an early age, he had been visiting the bank and learnt how a branch functions. His father died a few years ago and his mother retired. He had applied for a job after father’s death. He got frustrated as his application was delayed and then decided to open a bank by himself,” police inspector Ambedkar told indianexpress.com.

Intriguingly, police haven’t received a single complaint from the customers about any financial irregularity in the fake branch.

A thorough investigation is under way.

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