Police Complaint Filed Against Shavei Israel Bank Fraud in Manipur
Updated: Dec 11, 2020
(December 10) The B’nei Menashe Council’s newly elected general secretary Ohaliav Haokip has filed a complaint with the Churachandpur police against Meital Singson, ex-Shavei Israel administrator in Manipur, charging her with fraud and check forgery. Listed in the complaint as possible accomplices are Shavei Israel’s director Tsvi Khaute, its current administrator in Manipur Sehjalal Kipgen, and a mysterious figure named B. Suantak
Haokip came across the forged check when he went to the Churachandpur branch of the Bank of Baroda to inspect the records of the B’nei Menashe Council account there. As the newly elected secretary of the BMC, he turned to the bank after having requested a copy of records from Ms. Singson’s replacement, current Shavei administrator Shlomo Sehjalal Kipgen. At first claiming to possess no BMC documents at all, Seimang later turned over a large batch of them, including 200 pages of internal audits extending to the year 2015. None of these audits, however, covered the past five years or had any statements from the Bank of Baroda.
What Ohaliav Haokip discovered at the bank was unexpected. First, it turned out that Meital Singson, though she served in no official BMC capacity, was a signatory of the BMC’s bank account. Secondly, on November 30, 25 days after a new B’nei Menashe Council was elected, Ms. Singson, without asking its permission or informing it, closed its Bank of Baroda account. And thirdly, in closing it she withdrew the account’s balance of 2,047 rupees in a check written to herself with the stamp “Secretary (Finance), Bnei Menashe Council” – a position she never held.
Nor was this all. On the check were two countersignatures. One belonged to the mysterious B. Suantak, identified as “Chairman, Bnei Menashe Council.” Yet not only was he no such thing, no one in the B”nei Menashe community of Churachandpur has ever heard of him or knows who he is. Whether such a person as B. Suantak exists at all is unclear.
Even more startling was the third signature on the check. It purported to be that of Avihu Singsit, chairman of the BMC up to the time of the November 5 elections. Singsit, however, as reported by us on November 19, died on November 16, two weeks before the check was written on November 30!
Armed with this information, BMC Secretary Haokip went immediately to the Churachandpur police to file a complaint in the BMC’s name. The complaint, known in India as a “First Information Report,” stated that “Meital Singson, an ex-Administrator of Shavei Israel, which is an NGO based in Israel, and her colleagues have wantonly and deliberately stolen our Bank Cheque….withdrawn Rs. 2047.43 on 30 November….and closed the same account to destroy the evidence.”
Ms. Singson is slated to depart for Israel next week with a group of 150 B’nei Menashe from Manipur, who will be joining another group from Mizoram. “Two-thousand-and-forty-seven rupees,” Ohaliav Haokip told our Newsletter, “is not in itself a large sum. It comes to about 40 dollars, which is an average weekly wage in Manipur. But it looks like this check fraud is but a sign of what still remains to be uncovered. A quick glance at the records that the Bank of Baroda has provided us with points to far greater and graver financial infractions. We hope soon to get to the bottom of them, if necessary with the help of the police.”