THE CBI has filed a case of disproportionate assets against former deputy general manager of IDBI Bank B K Batra.
Batra was arrested by the CBI in January last year in connection with the Vijay Mallya loan fraud case. In its FIR lodged on March 9, the CBI alleged that between 2008 and 2016, when Batra retired from IDBI, he amassed movable and immovable assets worth Rs 1.69 crore.
It was on the complaint of IDBI Bank that the probe into loan default against Kingfisher Airlines was launched by the CBI. CBI investigations have found that IDBI officials allegedly agreed to grant more than Rs 900 crore to the airline at low interest rates in March 2009 at a time when the company’s financials were supposedly in dire straits and the airline had declared losses running up to Rs 1,600 crore.
At the bank, an internal note had flagged this deficiency of the company which would make it difficult to grant a huge loan to it. However, when the executive committee to screen the grant of loan application by Kingfisher Airlines sat, it gave a positive note, CBI sources said.
The agency found that the company at that time had a “BB” rating, which is considered “risky” in banking parlance.
According to the CBI, the loan screening committee relied heavily on the brand value of “Kingfisher” deriving its importance from the beer brand. The executives involved had then had claimed that the brand had been pledged as a collateral qualifying Kingfisher not only for the loan but also a lower interest rate.
The screening committee also considered the “reputation” of the borrower while granting the loan. “Clearly, due diligence was not followed by the concerned executives of the bank before granting the loan,” a CBI official said.