Global financial services firm Goldman Sachs sacked India vice-president Ashwini Jhunjunwala, 36, after his arrest for allegedly transferring Rs 38 crore ($5.4 million) from the company’s account to his personal accounts online to pay off debts incurred in a poker game, here on Tuesday.
“The employee (Jhunjunwala) has been immediately dismissed. We are also engaged with the authorities (police) to activate criminal proceedings,” the company told IANS in an e-mail.
The police arrested Jhunjunwala under section 420 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) on a complaint by the company’s Indian subsidiary for reportedly siphoning off funds fraudulently.
“Jhunjunwala has been sent to 14-day judicial custody by a local court for an investigation into the cheating case,” Marathahalli Circle Inspector S.P. Girish told IANS.
According to the preliminary investigation, Jhunjunwala, who was looking after the company’s forex and equity settlement claims, transferred the money online from his colleagues’ computers over the months to avoid detection.
“The vice-president’s modus operandi in stealing the company’s money was to access the finance manager’s account when the latter was away from the workstation and transfer the amounts online to his accounts in India and overseas. He was caught recently (on September 4) doing such transactions from another colleague’s computer,” Bengaluru East Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) M.N. Anucheth told IANS.
The accused was caught on the basis of video footage from the closed circuit television cameras (CCTVs) in the company’s office, which showed the executive using others workstations.
“The transactions timings tallied with that of the videos, which recorded and showed the executive using computers of his associates for committing the fraud,” Girish said.
In a complaint to the police, the company’s legal counsel accused Jhunjhunwala of trying to make up for the losses he incurred in the online gambling. One of the accounts in which the money was transferred was traced to be a shell company (Synergy Wisdom Ltd) in Hong Kong in which he had invested.
“When confronted with video clip of the crime, the accused tried to wriggle out by saying he was only evaluating his colleagues performance on their computers,” the DCP said.