The police in Gujarat’s Narmada district have booked staff of a private cash management company under various sections for alleged theft of Rs 5.25 crore from the daily collections of the Statue of Unity, The Indian Express reported on Wednesday.
The complaint, filed by the manager of a Vadodara branch of HDFC Bank at the local Kevadiya police station, names Writer Business Services Private Limited for allegedly siphoning off the money between October 2018 and March 2020. The Kevadiya police has registered the complaint and started an investigation into the matter, according to the newspaper.
The complaint states that HDFC Bank, which provided services for offline ticketing and parking fees to the Statue of Unity administration, had outsourced the doorstep cash collection facility of offline tickets to Writer Business.
“The receipt of the cash received is issued to the Statue of Unity administration and is periodically reconciled with the cash deposit entries made in the bank account,” an official at the tourist site told The Indian Express.
During a matching of entries, the auditors at the Statue of Unity noticed a discrepancy between the receipts submitted by the Writer Business, on behalf of HDFC Bank, and the actual entries.
“An amount of Rs 5.25 crore was missing although the receipts in our record showed that the HDFC Bank agent had been handed over the amount,” an official at the Statue of Unity said. “The issue was raised with the bank, which proactively initiated a probe.”
Narmada District Collector DA Shah, who is also the chief executive officer of the statue, said that a committee comprising of officials of the district administration, HDFC Bank and the Statue of Unity was formed. Shah said that the committee scrutinised the records and concluded that the cash was handed over to the bank.
He also said HDFC Bank had employed Writer Business for the cash collection and the administration at the tourist spot had nothing to do with it.
“HDFC Bank is solely responsible for this transaction,” Shah told The Indian Express. “So, as per agreement the bank has credited the amount to the Statue of Unity account along with the interest, while they will resolve their dispute with their agent.”
Kevadiya Superintendent of Police Vani Doodhat said that the the Statue of Unity administration has provided them with daily receipts and transaction slips, which are being examined. “We will call in the staff of the agency [Writer Business] to question them after identifying the employees who handled the money during the said period,” he added.
The agency has been booked under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, including cheating, criminal conspiracy and criminal breach of trust.