The CBI has booked Kolkata-based computer company RP Infosystems Ltd and its directors for allegedly defrauding Canara Bank of more than Rs 500 crore in loans on the basis of forged stocks and debtors’ statements and wilfully defaulting on the loan amount by diverting it.
One of the company directors booked in the case, Shibaji Panja, was at one point said to be close to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. He has been arrested earlier by the Delhi Police and booked by the CBI in connection with loan frauds.
In February 2015, Panja had been arrested while returning from Dhaka with Banerjee. West Bengal Police had detained him on the basis of a lookout circular issued by Delhi Police’s Economic Offences Wing.
Panja had accompanied Banerjee as a non-official delegate on a three-day visit to Bangladesh. Banerjee had at the time distanced herself from Panja, saying that what businessmen in her entourage did was not related to her.
In June 2015, the CBI had booked Panja and RP Infosystems, along with other company directors, for allegedly pulling off Rs 180-crore loan fraud on IDBI bank.
In the present case, CBI has booked Panja along with company directors Kaustuv Ray and Vinay Bafna and vice president (finance) Debnath Pal apart from unknown Canara Bank officials.
Ray and Bafna had been booked in the 2015 FIR as well.
The CBI on Wednesday conducted searches at residences and offices of Debnath Pal, and residences of Panja, Bafna and Kaustuv, as well as the corporate office of RP Infosystems.
According to the complaint filed by Canara Bank, RP Infosystems cheated a consortium of 10 banks led by Canara Bank of Rs 515.15 crore. The bank has alleged that the company availed of funds on the basis of “false and fabricated stock/receivable/debtors’ statements, forged drawing power letter etc”.
It has alleged that “letters of credit (LCs) opened by different member banks of the consortium on the applications of M/S RP Infosystems Ltd started devolving from 2012 onwards due to non-maintenance of funds. The said borrower company dishonestly and fraudulently did not route the sale proceeds through the loan account and siphoned off the entire amount.”
The bank has alleged that the company also inflated its receivables. It said that some of the purported debtors such as Gail India Ltd, Vincent Electronics (Rourkela) and CEAT Ltd had informed the SBI — one of the consortium banks — that they had no dealings with the company.
The consortium also includes Punjab National Bank, which is at the centre of a Rs 12,636 crore alleged loan fraud by diamantaires Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi.