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Thursday, April 12, 2012

SBI officials, others to be charged for cheating bank of Rs 30 cr

A Delhi court has passed an order for framing of charges against a senior official of the State Bank of India (SBI) and 10 others for allegedly using forged documents to cheat the bank's Industrial Finance Branch to the tune of Rs 30.5 crores in the matter of credit facilities.

Terming the loss caused to the bank as "mammoth", Special CBI Judge Manoj Jain said that charges of cheating, forgery, using forged documents, criminal conspiracy under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and abuse of official position under the Prevention of Corruption Act (PCA) were made out against the 11 accused.

"I am of the considered opinion that there existed a criminal conspiracy amongst all accused, the object of which was to cheat the bank.

"Forged bills and invoices were prepared. Bogus companies were floated. Pecuniary advantage was showered on A9 (AGM of SBI) and A10 (Manager/Credit Officer of SBI) and they abused their official position to assist their co-accused. The loss to the bank is mammoth," the judge said.

Mani Kant Tula (AGM, SBI), Parveen Kumar Gupta (Manager, SBI), Hindustan Polychm Pvt Ltd (HPPL), its alleged directors Sangeeta Shah, Padamakar Kumar Srivastava, Padma Gill, along with its other employees Hemant Kumar Senapati, Anil Kumar Sukumara Panicker, Musafir Prasad, were among the 11 accused who were charge sheeted by the CBI in the case.

The other co-accused included one Prem Shankar Jha and Arvind Rai C Shah (ex-employee of Union Bank of India).

As per the CBI, HPPL, which was engaged in export and import had obtained credit facilities from Industrial Finance branch of SBI and then diverted the same to 20 bogus companies floated by it and its directors, which existed only on paper, by opening letters of credit (LoC) in favour of these entities.

On the role played by the SBI officials in the case, the CBI had said that both of them abused their official position as public servants by sanctioning release of credit facilities in favour of the accused company HPPL and gave undue monetary advantage to it causing a loss to the tune of Rs 30.5 crore to the bank.

Counsel for the accused, on the other hand, had contended that charge cannot be framed only on the basis of suspicion and added that for the purposes of inferring conspiracy there has to be a meeting of minds which is lacking in the present case.

The court, however, observed "keeping in mind the material on record, documents and statements of witnesses and the legal scenario, I am of the view that all accused persons are liable to be charged for offences under sections 120B (criminal conspiracy), 420 (cheating), 468 (forgery for purpose of cheating) and 471 (using forged documents as genuine) of IPC read with sections of the PCA".

"Let charges be framed accordingly," the court said.

Source: Financial Express


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