CBI raids Central Bank, private trust officials in Rs 58 cr scam

Mumbai: The CBI on Friday raided the residences of several serving and former officers of the Central Bank of India and officials of the Sinhagad Technical Education Society (STES) at multiple locations in connection with a Rs 58 crore scam, an official said here.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) sleuths carried out raids on residential and official premises of the bank officers and STES officials in Mumbai, Pune and Nashik and the searches were going on when the reports last came in.

According to the CBI, a case has been registered against A.G. Sawant, former Assistant General Manager (AGM), Central Bank of India’s Mid-Corporate Branch, Pune (now retired), Vidyadhar Pednekar, a former Senior Manager in the same branch, STES President and Managing Trustee M.N. Navale, certain trust officials and unknown persons, under various sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Prevention of Corruption Act.

The CBI said that during 2011-2012, the bank officers, Sawant and Pednekar, entered into “a criminal conspiracy” with Navale and others to avail various financial facilities to the tune of Rs 81.30 crore, including a fresh loan of Rs 60 crore and transferring the STES’s existing loans from the Punjab & Sindh Bank and the Canara Bank.

Navale submitted a project report giving false information that the loan amount would be utilised for various construction works and supplying materials to various STES campuses, including the underconstruction dental college and hospital in Narhe, Pune.

Sawant allegedly recommended the loan proposal, which was cleared by the Central Bank of India board, amounting to Rs 75.01 crore, comprising Rs 60 crore as a new loan plus Rs 13.01 crore takeover loan from the Canara Bank and another Rs 2-crore takeover loan from the Punjab & Sind Bank.

The CBI said that Sawant made the disbursement of the loans to STES without following the procedures and ascertaining its final use, since it later turned out that the borrower diverted it for some other purposes.

The STES also furnished bogus documents to the Central Bank Of India, including a certificate by an architect falsely showing expenses of Rs 21.20 crore towards construction of the Narhe medical campus, though no such thing was built there.

The CBI said the bank officers blatantly favoured the STES by misrepresenting the facts, did not ensure that adequate securities were in place to guard the loan, with Navale turning a wilful defaulter.

As part of the criminal conspiracy, the CBI said Navale failed to repay the loan to the bank, thus becoming a non-performing asset, causing an estimated loss of Rs 58.04 crore, plus interest.