CBI detects Rs.240 mn bank fraud in Chandigarh

May 9th, 2008 - 1:22 pm ICT by admin  

Chandigarh, May 9 (IANS) The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has unearthed a Rs.240 million loan scam in the Sector 17 branch of the Punjab National Bank (PNB) here. The CBI, which raided the bank office Thursday and offices of a Himachal Pradesh-based company in Una, 120 km from here, has booked former PNB general manager B.P. Chopra and six other bank officials under the Prevention of Corruption Act for extending a loan of Rs.240 million to a private company.

The role of the PNB officials and owners of Shree Balaji Manganese private limited is under the CBI scanner now.

Company owners, Manoj Goyal and Neeru Goyal, have also been booked by the CBI.

The loan was extended in two instalments of Rs.80 million and Rs.160 million in 2005 and 2006 respectively for setting up a plant in Himachal’s Una district. The company failed to pay back the loan amount.

The second loan was for setting up a power plant in Himachal Pradesh.

Chopra, who once headed the bank’s loan operations in the Haryana circle, went out of the way to get the loan sanctioned for the private company for its Himachal plant even though it was not within his powers. The second loan was sanctioned even when the company failed to pay back the first, CBI officials said.

The credentials of the company and its owners were not checked thoroughly by the bank and CBI officials have now found that the company had even failed to provide essential papers while taking the loan.

CBI officials said that the company was running at a loss and had not even been able to pay its electricity bills in Una. They said that there was little hope of recovering most of the money loaned to the company.

The CBI is also investigating whether Chopra used his position and contacts in the PNB Chandigarh and Delhi offices to get the loan sanctioned for the private company. The role of PNB officers senior to him in allowing the loan to be sanctioned is also being investigated.

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