S K Jain prevented over Rs 100 cr loans from being declared NPAs

Written by PTI | New Delhi | Updated: Aug 5 2014, 02:33am hrs
Suspended Chairman and Managing Director of Syndicate Bank S K Jain, arrested by CBI on graft charges, had allegedly prevented loans of over Rs 100 crore on Bhushan Steel and Prakash Industries from being declared as non-performing assets, agency sources said today.

CBI has also alleged that Jain used to negotiate directly with the companies on the bribe amount and once the deal was struck, he used hawala channel to receive the money, the sources said.

They alleged that once the bribe amount was agreed upon, the company used to pay hawala operator who forwarded the payment to other businessmen who finally made the payment to brother-in laws of Jain in Mumbai who too have been arrested.

CBI sources said Jain has allegedly taken Rs 50 lakh as bribe from Bhushan Steel for not declaring loans of nearly Rs 100 crore as non-performing assets. The sources said a similar deal was struck with Prakash Industries also but the alleged bribe is still being traced.

They said the bad loans for Prakash Industries allegedly were about 20 million US Dollars (approximately Rs 120 crore).

The sources said the agency has been tracking the conversations of Jain for nearly six months and acted when it got clear indication of alleged bribe exchanging hands.

They said CBI is still looking for two alleged middlemen--realtor Purushotam Totlani and Neeraj Singal, Vice-president and Managing Director of Bushan Stee.

No reaction was available from Bhushan Steel and Prakash Industries on the issue.

Jain, 54, was appointed CMD of state-owned Syndicate Bank in July last year for a period of five years. He was one of the youngest CMDs of a public sector bank and was due to retire in 2020.

Finance Ministry suspended him today after receiving reports from CBI.

The sources said once a loan is declared as NPA, the borrower starts facing problems in day to day operations of his account and the bank starts adjusting money deposited against their dues besides a negative impact takes place on their market credentials.

The companies did not want their loans to be declared as NPAs and allegedly paid bribe to prevent that.

Vice Chairman of the company Neeraj Singhal, who is named in the FIR and is yet to be arrested, is alleged to have made the payment through a conduit Purushotam Totlani, also allegedly evading arrest, to Vineet Godha, brother-in-law of Jain.

CBI claimed to have recovered cash to the tune of Rs 21 lakh from Jain's residence besides gold worth Rs 1.68 crore and fixed deposits of up to Rs 63 lakh.

The entire racket was busted after CBI monitored the activities of Jain for last six months.

The highly secretive operation, which was being monitored by CBI Director Ranjit Sinha, came to an end after the alleged "deal" was being struck by the company with the bank CMD.

CBI has registered two cases against Jain and 11 others, including CMD and Directors of two private firms based in Delhi -- Bhushan Steel and Prakash Industries -- in a bribery case under relevant sections of Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 and criminal conspiracy.

Efforts to get a reaction from the two companies did not fructify as Bushan Steel refused to comment and Prakash Industries said there was no one for media liaison.