After the alleged PNB fraud case, Canara Bank has alleged that the directors of Chirag Computers bypassed a consortium of 10 banks including the Punjab National Bank and State Bank of India, by forging documents and displaying inflated funds.
In yet another case of alleged bank fraud, the Central Bureau of Investigation has booked the directors of Kolkata-based RP Info Systems, known for the manufacturing the Chirag brand of computers, for allegedly defrauding a consortium of 10 banks led by Canara Bank of at least Rs 515.15 crore. As per a complaint filed by Canara Bank, the directors allegedly secured loans on the basis of forged stocks and debtors’ statement, inflated receivables’ statements and then wilfully defaulted on the loan amount. Punjab National Bank, in the news due to alleged fraud cases by diamantaires Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi, is also among the 10 banks that have exposure to the alleged fraud.
As per the complaint filed by Canara Bank, the firm has obtained credit facilities from at least 10 state-run banks including the State Bank of India, by overstating its inventory and submitting false invoices. As per media reports, this is not the first time when the firm has come under the scanner. Earlier, in December 2013, IDBI Bank had filed a similar complaint with the CBI, seeking a probe into the fraudulent diversion of funds (reportedly Rs 180 crore) using forged documents. Canara Bank, in its complaint, also claimed that it had reported a fraud by the company to the RBI in 2015 itself.
It is worth mentioning here that one of the firm’s directors, Shibaji Panja, as per a report by The Indian Express, was at one point said to be close to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. He also accompanied Banerjee on her official visit to Dhaka as a non-official delegate. However, after the charges emerged against him, the West Bengal Chief Minister had distanced himself from the businessman. Panja had been arrested previously by the West Bengal police on the basis of a lookout circular issued against him by the Delhi Poice Economic Offences Wing. Notably, CBI has booked Panja along with company’s other directors – Kaustuv Ray and Vinay Bafna. Charges have also been filed against the firm’s vice-president Debnath Pal by the central investigating body.
Meanwhile, Gail India, Vincent Electronics (Rourkela) and CEAT, whom the computer company portrayed as its debtors on the basis of fake documents, have cleared that they had no dealings with the firm.