Warangal: An appraiser working with a bank fled with 2.17 kg of gold ornaments worth `1.44 crore that was mortgaged by customers. The incident came to light when the bank audited its branch at Rajupet of Mangapet mandal in Mulugu district earlier this week. Sub-inspector Ravi Kumar identified the accused as Sammeta Prashanth of Palaigudem of the mandal and a native of Narsampet in Warangal district.

During their audit, bank officials found that there was a mismatch between the gold on record and in the vaults. The officials took the issue to the notice of branch manager Kiran Kumar who in turn tried to contact appraiser Prashanth. That is when they learnt that Prashanth along with his family had left

the village without informing anyone. The bank officials then lodged a complaint with the police.

After registering a case, police found during their investigation that Prashanth had opened a gold shop in Rajupet and had also borrowed money from several persons from the surrounding villages. Police have formed special teams to search and arrest Prashanth. Regional deputy general manager Srinivas Rao of the bank who visited the Rajupet branch to enquire about the theft assured that those who had mortgaged their jewellery need not worry. The bank would return an equal amount of gold or money at market value as preferred by the customers, he said.

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