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India's Anti-Corruption Agency Launches Biggest Ever Raids to Target Bank Fraudsters

New Delhi (Sputnik) The crackdown kicks off a year after the agency was hit by a slew of bank scams, with the Punjab National Bank scam, involving over $2.1 billion in funds, the primary focus of both the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate (ED).

Tightening the noose around financial con-men, India’s top investigative agency the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Tuesday carried out the biggest operation to date in a $1 billion bank fraud case.

A senior CBI official said the agency is conducting searches at around 169 locations across the country.

The Official added that the searches involve hundreds of agency officials in Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana, Chandigarh, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Telengana, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Dadra and Nager Haveli. The CBI has registered around 35 cases related to bank fraud involving over $1 billion.

The agency has carried out several raids against fraudsters since the beginning of the year. Last month, another bank fraud case came into the light in Mumbai - the country's financial capital, in which over $1 billion cash of depositors' funds got stuck in the banking system.

Various reports suggest that at least eight people have committed suicide in distress when they were unable to withdraw their hard-earned money from Punjab and Maharashtra Co-operative Bank after the banking regulator put a limit on withdrawals. 

India's Finance Ministry has claimed the country’s main internal probe agency has been examining 847 cases related to bank fraud, registered since May 2014. In July this year, the government claimed that banks had reported $6 billion in fraud over the last three years.

Of the 847 cases, 371 cases are currently under investigation, 450 cases are being tried, 14 cases have been closed, four cases have resulted in convictions, and a court has ordered a stay in two cases. In addition, regular departmental action has been advised in six cases.

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