Businessman Shibaji Panja in Mamata Banerjee entourage held

Shibaji Panja, a close aide of CM, has been charged with forgery by EOW.

Written by Sarah Hafeez | New Delhi | Updated: February 23, 2015 7:56:49 am
Shibaji Panja, Mamata Banerjee, Bidhannagar police Panja being taken to Barrackpore court on Sunday. He was released on bail. (Express)

The Bidhannagar police detained businessman Shibaji Panja at the Kolkata airport on Saturday in compliance with a lookout circular issued by Delhi Police. He was granted bail by a Barrackpore court Sunday on a personal bond.

The Economic Offences Wing ( EOW) of the Delhi Police had issued the lookout circular. Panja is director of a company named in an FIR lodged in July last year under sections of forgery and cheating amounting to Rs 18 crore.

A close aide of West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee, Panja had accompanied her on her three-day Bangladesh trip. He was detained by immigration officials immediately after his return. An EOW team reached Kolkata late on Sunday night. On Monday, they will move court against Panja’s bail order and subsequently seek transit remand to bring him to Delhi for questioning.

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Joint Commissioner of Police (EOW) Satish Golcha said, “A case of cheating and forgery had been registered in Kalkaji police station in July last year against R P Infosystems Ltd where Panja is a director. The company manufactures and sells computers and computer parts. It had approached IFCI Factors Ltd, seeking a loan (factoring facility) of 18 crore rupees with which it would finance a consignment of computers for supply to other firms. The invoices and purchase orders submitted by the company to the IFCI Factors were found to be forged.”

Police said Panja had approached IFCI Factors in November, 2012 for the loan which was issued to the firms via his company through a process called bill discounting. However, after a couple of months, when IFCI Factors approached the firms to recover the money, they said they had never signed any deal with Panja’s company.

“Panja’s company told IFCI Factors that it had entered into a supply agreement of goods with certain firms on the basis of which a short-term loan worth Rs 18 crore was sanctioned to his company. However, the loan was never returned as the debtor firms did not buy the goods in the first place. Having been cheated, IFCI factors got a case registered in Kalkaji police station. It was later transferred to Economic Offences Wing,” a senior police officer said.

During the probe, it was found that the loan was obtained on basis of forged documents. It was also found that the said firms do not even deal in computers. The purchase order, invoices, ferry receipts, acknowledgement notes had been forged to obtain the loan.

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