Special cell to probe ICICI Bank bankruptcy rumours

October 14th, 2008 - 12:09 am ICT by IANS  

Mumbai, Oct 13 (IANS) The Mumbai police Monday formed a special cell to investigate a complaint by ICICI Bank, which claimed that it was a victim of “economic terrorism”, a police official said here.The ICICI Bank has submitted a 22-page complaint to the Mumbai police alleging that some brokers, members of the bear cartel at the Bombay Stock Exchange and some websites were working overtime to bring down its share prices by spreading malicious and baseless rumours.

It has not named any specific person or companies in this connection, but said text messages were circulated with the intention to malign the bank’s reputation, Joint Police Commissioner (Crime) Rakesh Maria told reporters.

The rumours compelled the bank to send out SMS to all its customers scotching the rumours and assuring customers that everything is fine, the bank was not facing any financial crisis.

At some ATMs last week, anxious customers were seen queueing up to withdraw cash, prompting the bank to place a withdrawal limit of Rs.5,000 per transaction, that too, in Rs.100 denominations.

The special team, to be headed by Additional Police Commissioner (Economic Offences Wing - EOW) Sanjay Saxena, will investigate all aspects of the matter, try to ascertain where and how the rumours started, who is behind it and whether there is any criminal intent or part of a larger criminal conspiracy, Maria said.

The EOW will co-ordinate with the Cyber Crime Investigation Cell of the Mumbai Police and the Securities Exchange Board of India (SEBI), the markets watchdog.

Maria said if prima facie, a criminal intent is found, the police will lodge a formal first information report.

In a related development, ICICI Bank’s executive director V. Vaidyanathan said there has been a categorical assurance of the soundness of the Indian banking system as well as ICICI Bank’s own sound financial health both from the Reserve Bank of India and Finance Minister P. Chidambaram.

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