Syndicate Bank Chairman-cum-Managing Director (CMD) S.K. Jain was on Saturday arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation along with his brother-in-law and four others for allegedly receiving a bribe of Rs.50 lakh to grant credit extension to two private firms embroiled in the coal block allocations scam.
The agency has registered two cases against Mr. Jain and 11 others: one on graft charges and the other for alleged abuse of official position to increase the credit limit of the companies in violation of banking rules. One of the private firms had defaulted on the payment of loan instalments amounting to crores.
Among the others named in the two cases are Bhushan Steel vice-president Neeraj Singal; Prakash Industries CMD Ved Prakash Agarwal and another representative Vipul Agarwal; Chartered Accountant Pawan Bansal; and Mr. Jain’s relatives Vineet and Puneet Godha, besides Vijay Pahuja, Purushottam Lal Totlani and Pankaj Bansal.
During searches, the CBI allegedly seized Rs.21 lakh in cash and gold worth Rs.1.68 crore from the premises of the Syndicate Bank CMD, besides fixed-deposit receipts for about Rs.63 lakh.
It is alleged that documents pertaining to several properties have also been seized during the operation for scrutiny.
“It took us six months to develop the intelligence collated internally while probing suspected links of bank officials with companies availing of credit facilities,” said a senior CBI official, adding that the operation was conducted under the direct supervision of CBI chief Ranjit Sinha.
It is learnt that senior functionaries of some other prominent nationalised banks are also under the scanner.
Acting on a tip-off that the Syndicate Bank CMD had allegedly been demanding bribes, directly or through middlemen, for extending credit limits of companies, the CBI mounted surveillance and zeroed in on his brother-in-law Vineet and Mr. Bansal, a Madhya Pradesh-based chartered accountant who is in the business of facilitating loans for top corporates.
“We laid a trap and arrested the two when they were receiving the bribe amount from representatives of the companies who have been named in the FIRs,” said the official. Simultaneous raids were carried out at 20 places in Delhi, Bangalore, Bhopal and Mumbai.