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Friday, December 06, 2019

First set of charges in ‘bribes for loans’ scam

The CBI has filed its first chargesheet in the multi-crore ‘bribes for loans’ scandal it busted.

Written by Sukanya Shetty | Mumbai | Updated: June 19, 2019 4:44:17 pm

The CBI has filed its first chargesheet in the multi-crore ‘bribes for loans’ scandal it busted last November,and charged three people for conspiracy and corruption to secure loans for Lavasa Corporation Ltd,Suzlon Energy Ltd,and Vatika Ltd.

The chargesheet,filed by the Economic Offences Wing of the CBI earlier this month,says Rajesh Sharma,the head of Mumbai-based financial services firm Money Matters,and his colleague Sanjay Sharma,paid Maninder Singh Johar,a director (chartered accountant) with the Central Bank of India,Rs 30 lakh to help secure loans and other credit facilities from the bank for Lavasa.

A copy of the chargesheet is with The Indian Express.

The 22-page chargesheet also says that Rajesh Sharma also secured loans for Suzlon and Vatika by paying unspecified bribes to Johar,with both of them abusing their official positions and ensuring loan sanctioning was quick,even though supporting documents were defective and showed “serious irregularities”.

“The investigation revealed that Johar demanded Rs 37.5 lakh from (Rajesh) Sharma for the undue favor provided by him in the matter of Lavasa and an amount of Rs 30 lakh was delivered to Johar through Sanjay Sharma on the instruction of (Rajesh) Sharma in installments of Rs 10 lakh and Rs 20 lakh,” the chargesheet says.

This bribe was allegedly paid in December 2009 and January 2010,and was delivered to Johar at his New Delhi home,it adds.

Johar had allegedly shown special interest in the loan applications of these three companies and had been exerting undue pressure and influence while enquiring about their status with the general manager and junior officers in the bank,the chargesheet says. It attributes this information to the 64 witness statements recorded so far.

The CBI also claims that Johar deliberately remained silent about some irregularities in the documents submitted by the companies. “Johar knowingly did not raise any objection in the management committee meeting which sanctioned the loans,” it says.

The case,which was registered on the basis of “intelligence” received by the agency,relies heavily on telephonic conversations between the accused,allegedly discussing the fraudulent means through which they carried out the criminal act,besides statements made by witnesses.

In five separate cases filed in the loan scam,the CBI had arrested eight people: R R Nair,chief executive,LIC Housing Finance,Naresh K Chopra,secretary (investment),LIC,R N Tayal,general manager,Bank of India,Venkoba Gujjal,deputy general manager,Punjab National Bank,and Suresh Gattani of Money Matters,besides Johar,Rajesh Sharma and Sanjay Sharma.

While Rajesh Sharma is still behind bars,the others are out on bail.

“We refute any allegations about bribes,” a Suzlon spokesperson told The Indian Express. “The CBI had asked us for information and we have provided them with it. Suzlon engaged Money Matters in good faith on the recommendation of their lenders.” Lavasa declined to comment.

UPDATE: Mr Rajesh Sharma,  Accused in Spl Case CBI Nos: 9/11, 65/11, 66/11, 71/11 & 72/11 has informed that he was discharged from prosecution commenced under provisions of the IPC and Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 in all these cases by Orders passed by HHJ Sp Judge Mr A A Khan (CR 47) on 17.06.2015.

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