Rs 400 cr loan 'fraud': SBI gives clean chit to Shyamal Acharya

fe Bureau Posted online: Saturday, Dec 07, 2013 at 0000 hrs
Mumbai : State Bank of India (SBI) has not found any procedural lapses in a Rs 75-crore loan sanctioned to Delhi-based Worlds Window Group (WWG) by the bank’s mid-corporate group, till recently headed by Shyamal Acharya. Late last month, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) alleged that Acharya, deputy managing director, had been bribed to clear the Rs 75 crore as part of a Rs 400-crore loan request.

The report of a two-member internal committee comprising SBI’s two senior-most managing directors — Hemant Contractor and A Krishnakumar — has not found any relaxations in the eligibility criterion while approving the loan. As part of the enquiry, the committee examined only the WWG loan.

“We looked at the credit appraisal processes and everything appears to be as per regulations,” SBI chairman Arundhati Bhattacharya told FE.

The report finds that no procedures were skipped in sanctioning the loan and concludes that the borrower was, in fact, eligible, said another senior official of the bank. FE could not independently verify the contents of the report which was submitted to the finance ministry on Friday.

While the investigation clears any doubts over the loan approval process, the bank did not comment on allegations of bribery against Acharya, who was asked to go on leave on the day the allegations surfaced. “The CBI will look into those aspects,” Bhattacharya said.

The CBI had last month filed a case against three people including Acharya, KK Kumra, who was an adviser at WWG, and Piyoosh Goyal, founder, WWG. According to CBI officials, Goyal sought a loan of Rs 400 crore from SBI. Kumra, who was also a former SBI official, in turn got in touch with Acharya, who allegedly influenced his juniors and got Rs 75 crore sanctioned to begin with. After the loan was cleared, Goyal is alleged to have paid Rs 25 lakh to Kumra as reward, and another Rs 15 lakh to give to Acharya. After Kumra got the Rs 15 lakh, he is alleged to have bought an Omega and a Rolex for Rs 7.75 lakh and handed them over to Acharya. Both watches were seized from Acharya's cabin by the CBI during a search operation and Kumra was arrested.

The CBI conducted simultaneous raids at various locations including offices and residences of Acharya, Kumra and Goyal. According to the CBI, Rs 7 lakh in cash was found in Acharya's residence, along with a locker key and several “incriminating documents”. Gold and jewellery worth Rs 67 lakh have been seized from the SBI DMD's residence as well as papers relating to various fixed deposits. However, the investigative agency is yet to arrest Acharya in connection with this case.