The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has registered a case against top officials of Simbhaoli Sugars Ltd — one of the largest sugar mills in the country — including its Deputy General Manager Gurpal Singh, who is the son-in-law of Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, for alleged bank loan fraud of Rs 97.85 crore and default of Rs 110 crore.
According to the FIR filed by the CBI, there are two loans, both from the Oriental Bank of Commerce, under probe — a Rs 97.85 crore loan which was declared fraud in 2015, and a corporate loan of Rs 110 crore used to repay the previous loan. The second loan was declared NPA (non-performing asset) on November 29, 2016, nearly three weeks after demonetisation of Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 notes was announced.
The bank had complained to the CBI on November 17, 2017 but the agency registered the case only on February 22 this year.
Besides Gurpal Singh, the CBI has booked 12 others, including Simbhaoli Sugars’ Chairman Gurmit Singh Mann, CEO G S C Rao, CFO Sanjay Tapriya, Executive Director Gursimran Kaur Mann and other company officials as well as unknown bank officials.
The agency also carried out searches at eight premises, including the residences of directors, factory, corporate office and registered office of the company in Delhi, Hapur and Noida on Sunday, said CBI spokesperson Abhishek Dayal.
According to the FIR, the Oriental Bank of Commerce sanctioned a loan of Rs.148.60 crore Simbhaoli Sugars in 2011. “The loan was sanctioned for financing individual/ joint liability groups / self help groups / sugarcane farmers, as per a tie-up arrangement under an RBI scheme, to 5,762 sugarcane farmers supplying sugar produce to the said private company during the period from January 25, 2012 to March 13, 2012, which was dishonestly and fraudulently diverted by said company for its own needs,” said Dayal.
As per the MoU, out of the sugarcane price to be paid by Simbhaoli Sugars to the farmers, loan liabilities were to be adjusted and the remaining amount was to be paid by the company to the farmers, said the FIR.
The account was declared NPA on March 31, 2015. On May 13, 2015, the bank declared it as loan fraud of Rs 97.85 crore to the Reserve Bank of India.
While the bank declared a fraud of Rs 97.85 crore, the actual loss incurred was Rs 109.08 crore, according to the FIR. The CBI has invoked sections dealing with criminal conspiracy, cheating and provisions of Prevention of Corruption Act against the accused.
According to the FIR, in addition to the existing NPA, the bank sanctioned another corporate loan of Rs 110 crore to the company on January 28, 2015, to pay its outstanding loan of Rs 97.85 crore, and adjusted the total liability of Rs 112.94 crore towards the company by way of deposit of this new corporate loan.
“The corporate loan, too, turned NPA on November 29, 2016, thus resulting in its first outstanding loan of Rs 97.85 crore (as alleged fraud) and the fresh corporate loan of Rs 109.08 crore (as fresh outstanding),” said Dayal.