Indian police make new arrest in Citibank scam

NEW DELHI, Jan 3, 2011 (AFP) - Indian police arrested a senior executive of the country's biggest motorcycle maker on Monday in connection with a multimillion-dollar fraud involving a local Citibank branch, police said.

Sanjay Gupta, associate vice president of Hero Corporate Services, was held on charges of criminal conspiracy in Gurgaon, a booming satellite town near New Delhi, local police chief Surgeet Singh Deshwal told reporters.

Gupta's arrest came less than a week after an executive at Gurgaon's Citibank branch, Shivraj Puri, was arrested on charges of defrauding wealthy customers.

(File) Shivraj Puri is taken away by the police in Gurgaon, Haryana on Thursday

"Puri is being interrogated as the immediate aim of the police is to save people's money," the Gurgaon police chief said.

He said that Gupta was being held on suspicion of benefiting from fraudulent transactions involving Hero group funds.

Police allege Puri and his associates using forged documents to siphon off more than four billion rupees (88 million dollars) into bogus financial schemes from the accounts of corporate clients and wealthy individuals.

Hero group's Gupta was produced before a court in Gurgaon on Monday and a judge gave police five days to question him, other officials said.

Hero Group, whose motorcycle unit Hero Honda has a 44-percent share of the domestic motorcycle market, has not commented on Gupta's arrest.

Police said that they were on the trail of three other "absconding" associates of the Citibank employee.

Citibank said in a statement last week that it was inspecting suspicious transactions and providing full assistance to the authorities.

The allegations are the latest financial scandal to hit India.

In November, several executives of state-run banks and an insurer in Mumbai were arrested over alleged bribes totalling more than 200 million dollars paid to sanction loans to property developers.

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