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CBI takes over probe into case of alleged fraud involving UCO Bank officials in Bathinda

The Punjab and Haryana High Court had on August 27 instructed the Punjab Police to hand over the probe to CBI.

Written by Saurabh Parashar | Chandigarh |
Updated: September 28, 2021 3:05:23 pm
CBIAfter taking over the probe, the central investigating agency lodged a fresh FIR at the CBI zonal headquarters in Chandigarh. (Representational image)

The CBI on Tuesday took over the investigation of a seven-year-old case of alleged fraud amounting to Rs 2 crore involving certain officers of the UCO Bank in Bathinda and the management of a Phagwara-based private firm called M/s Arjan Mall Retails Pvt Ltd. After taking over the probe, the central investigating agency lodged a fresh FIR at the CBI zonal headquarters in Chandigarh.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court had on August 27 instructed the Punjab Police to hand over the probe to CBI.  The high court had observed that the investigation was not being carried out in a lawful manner and some of the suspects were being shielded.

The HC order came after two of the accused directors of M/s Arjan Mall Retails Pvt Ltd —Arjun Bhanot and Rakesh Bhanot — filed an anticipatory bail application. The high court dismissed their petitions and transferred the investigation of the case to CBI.

The initial FIR was registered on the complaint of one Sharan Das of M/s Gurdas Agro Pvt Ltd, at Kotwali police station in Bathinda in October, 2014. The booked persons included Chander Kumar Gupta, Surinder Kumar Chugh, Mahesh Kumar of UCO Bank, Rakesh Bhanot, Arjun Bhanot and Kiran Bhanot of M/s Arjan Mall Retails Pvt Ltd.

According to the complainant, a security cheque of his was forged to transfer a sum of Rs 2 crore from his account to the account of M/s Arjan Mall Retail Pvt Ltd. He further alleged that the crime was committed by bank officials in connivance with the managing directors of the private firm.

Two of the suspects later argued in their petition to the high court that Das knew about the transaction and had voluntarily signed documents in this regard. The FSL report bears testimony to their argument, they said.

However, the high court had reviewed the entire investigation and concluded that unnecessary petitions were being filed for delaying the prosecution. The petitions moved by the suspects were dismissed and they were asked to deposit Rs 5 lakh each to the Director of PGIMER, Chandigarh, with the money to be used for the treatment of poor patients.

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