Serving, retired top officials of IDBI Bank booked by CBI in Rs 600-crore loan fraud

The CBI has booked top officials of two public sector banks, a former CMD of IDBI Bank, former Aircel promoter C Sivasankaran, his son and companies controlled by him in connection with a Rs 600-crore loan fraud, officials said today.

The CBI has named 15 bank officials who worked at senior levels at IDBI Bank in 2010 and 2014 when loans were sanctioned to the companies controlled by Sivasankaran in its FIR registered on a complaint from the Central Vigilance Commission, they said.

Managing Director and CEO of Indian Bank Kishor Kharat ( who was then MD and CEO of IDBI Bank) and his counterpart in Syndicate Bank Melwyn Rego (then Deputy Managing Director in IDBI Bank), along with then Chairman-cum- Managing Director of IDBI Bank M S Raghavan have been named in the FIR.

“It was also alleged that the loans were granted to the companies by IDBI Bank at its highest decision-making level comprising senior most management and even Independent Directors, disregarding the existing guidelines, instructions and procedures,” CBI spokesperson Abhishek Dayal said.

Subsequently, various conditions were relaxed or all together ignored. This led to an alleged loss of approximately Rs 600 crore to the bank and public exchequer, he said.

The case pertains to loans of Rs 322 crore and Rs 523 crore given to the companies of Sivasankaran, who was in the centre of Aircel Maxis probe for alleging that then Telecom Minister Dayanidhi Maran had put pressure on him to sell his company to a Malaysian telecom tycoon, a case in which Maran brothers have been discharged by a special court.

The loans later turned non-performing assets or NPAs.

The loan of Rs 322 crore was allegedly issued to Finland-based Win Wind Oy (WWO) by IDBI Bank in October, 2010 which turned into a non-performing asset three years later, the CBI has said in its FIR.

“The performance of said company showed stress and it was eventually granted voluntary bankruptcy by a court in Finland in October 2013,” he said.

The holding company of the WWO is Siva Investments and Holdings Limited based in the Seychelles which is again controlled by Siva Group of Companies chaired by C Sivasankaran, the agency alleged.

When WWO went into liquidation, IDBI Bank sanctioned another loan of Rs 523 crore to Axcel Sunshine Limited based in British Virgin Islands, a tax haven, in February 2014 which is also a company associated with Siva Group of Companies, it alleged.

“This (Rs 523 crore loan) was allegedly used for repaying other loans of other associate companies of this group (including WWO) in flagrant violation of the regulatory guidelines of RBI on foreign investments in India. This loan also turned into NPA in 2015”, Dayal said.

The loan has been fully provided for and it has initiated actions to recover dues from the borrower in August, 2016, IDBI Bank said in a statement.

The agency has also booked C Sivasankaran, his son Sivasankaran Saravanan, the then Directors of WWO Sanjeev Bafna, Tuomo Ronkko and Henry Grundsten, then Directors of Axcel Sunshine Nithyavathy Venkatesan, Gurunathan Pakkiriswamy, V Srinivasan and others.

They said the agency carried out searches at 50 locations, including the residences of former and serving senior IDBI Bank officials.

The searches were spread across Delhi, Faridabad, Mumbai, Gandhinagar, Chennai, Bangalore, Belgaum, Hyderabad, Jaipur and Pune, the officials said.

They said 15 senior officers of IDBI Bank, including retired officials, and 24 private officials, including directors and chairmen, and their companies have been booked.

Other bank officials booked by the agency are–Deputy Managing Director IDBI Bank G M Yadwadkar, former Deputy B K Batra, former Independent Directors of the bank P S Shenoy, S Ravi, Ninad Karpe, Executive Director (ED) Subroto Gupta, former EDs Viney Kumar and B Ravindra Nath, General Managers K Biju George, Venkata Krishnan, G Suneel Babu, then Regional Manager Manoj Alex (presently DGM).

[“Source-moneycontrol”]