The Anti-Corruption Branch of the CBI has registered a case against two Pune-based electrical supply companies, its directors and unidentified officials of a public sector bank in connection with an alleged fraud to the tune of Rs 73 crore, carried out by getting forged usance bills discounted from the bank.
A Regular Case (RC), the equivalent of a First Information Report, has been registered by the CBI based on a complaint filed by a zonal manager of Andhra Bank. Based on the complaint, the CBI has booked NIPKO Engineering Services Pvt Ltd (NESPL) and Signet Products Pvt Ltd (SPPL), both electrical supply companies based in Pune, and their directors Narendra Korde and Vaideshi Korde, as well as Achyut Korde, a director of SPPL.
What is Bill Discounting?
Bill discounting is a mutual agreement in which the seller receives an amount of the sales bill from a financial establishment such as bank, on a date before the bill’s due date. The financial establishment charges a fee for the service. In the case of usance bills, the bill has to be valid for the time permitted by the customs, called ‘usance period’.
The RC also mentions alleged involvement of unidentified officials of the Andhra Bank. The “fraud” is regarding usance bills which the companies got discounted between August and October 2017.
The complaint filed on September 2019 with the CBI by Arun Kumar, Andhra Bank zonal manager, as quoted in the RC, stated, “Both companies have opened current accounts with the Andheri branch, Mumbai on July 14, 2016. The companies are not enjoying any type of sanctioned credit limits with the branch. The companies have been submitting usance bills to the branch for the purpose of discounting.
The branch had been discounting in spite of the fact that companies don’t have sanctioned limits. The bills were discounted beyond the discretionary powers of the branch head. The bills, which were discounted initially, got realised and then the branch officials were made to believe discounted bills would be realised on due dates.”
The complaint further stated, “The branch discounted 32 bills of NESPL of Rs 62.62 crore out of which 18 bills of Rs 35.38 crore were not realised on due dates and have become NPA. The branch discounted 35 bills of Rs 68.79 crore, of which 19 bills of Rs 37.61 crore were not realised on due dates and have become NPAs. The bills discounted have become overdue due to non-realisation of bills on due date and have become NPA on October 31, 2017.
The borrowing companies with dishonest intention perpetrated the fraud and cheated the bank. The bank has examined the irregularities and initiated regular departmental action against officials found accountable. The delay in filing the complaint with the CBI after declaration of fraud by bank is due to the time taken in procuring relevant information from various sources.”
Superintendent of Police, CBI ACB in Pune, MP Kadole, confirmed that after registration of the RC, a probe has been launched.
While the CBI registered the RC on September 30, the searches in this regard were conducted in Pune and Aurangabad on the premises linked to the company and its directors on October 16. The RC of the case was made public on the agency’s website two days ago.