The Bank of Maharashtra MD and CEO, Ravindra P Marathe, and executive director Rajendra Gupta were remanded to police custody for seven days till June 27 by the Pune district court on Wednesday. The economic offences wing of the Pune police early in the day arrested BoM’s MD & CEO Marathe and ED Gupta along with the bank’s Ahmedabad zonal manager Nityanand Deshpande as well as former CMD Sushil Muhnot for fraudulent loans to the DSK Group in Pune. DSK’s chartered accountant Sunil Ghatpande and vice-president of engineering Rajiv Newaskar have also been arrested. While four of them were arrested and remanded to seven-day police custody till June 27, two of them, Jaipur-based Muhnot and Ahmedabad based Deshpande, have been arrested but are in transit and yet to be produced before the court.
The charges filed by the police said that the BoM officials colluded and caused losses to the bank by illegally approving a loan of Rs 50 crore for DSK’s Dreamcity project in Pune. BoM was supposed to be part of a consortium of lenders who were to finance the project. While other members did not approve the loan, BoM through a resolution approved Rs 100-crore loan. Out of this, Rs 50 crore was disbursed at a time when DSK was in poor financial health and defaulted on its payment to fixed deposit holders, debenture holders and had failed to pay salaries to employees. There was also no attempt made by the bank to see whether this money was being used for the purpose it was given for, police said. The total bank loan default by DSK was to the tune of Rs 711.36 crore. The company also defaulted on FD worth Rs 570.04 crore, unsecured loans of Rs 513.66 crore and debentures worth Rs 111.35 crore. They have been charged under Sections 120(B), 406, 409, 420, 465, 467, 468, 471, 109 r/w 34 IPC & 13(1)(c) r/w 13(2) of PC Act.
The Pune-headquartered Bank of Maharashtra is slated to have its AGM on Thursday in which it has to seek shareholders’ approval for capital-raising plans to the tune of Rs 3,000 crore by way of FPO/ rights issue/ QIP/ preferential issue and to set off accumulated losses of Rs 2,543.65 crore from the share premium account. The bank has been under the prompt corrective action (PCA) by RBI for poor performance after rising NPAs and posting losses in successive quarters during the last fiscal. The bank’s gross NPA stood at Rs 18,433 crore (19.48% of gross advances) and net NPA stood at Rs 9,641crore (11.24% of net advances) as on March 31, 2018. Lending operations of the bank have been curtailed. Marathe had taken over as CMD and CEO of BoM in September 2016 after the then CMD, Sushil Muhnot, was unceremoniously sacked by the government a few days before his retirement for wrongdoings.
Marathe had moved from Bank of India where he was ED. D S Kulkarni, CMD of DSK, and his wife Hemanti Kulkarni were arrested in February 2018 for allegedly cheating over 2,500 investors to the tune of Rs 230 crore. Police estimate the total financial fraud to be worth around Rs 2,043 crore. The Kulkarni couple are now lodged in Yerawada jail. Six more employees and relatives of Kulkarni have been arrested till date. Shirish Kulkarni, son of D S Kulkarni, was on June 19 granted a week’s time to surrender before the EOW. The Maharashtra government had already issued a notification to attach 124 properties, 276 bank accounts and 46 vehicles of the DSK Group. A majority of these accounts were with the Bank of Maharashtra.