The role of railway minister Pawan Kumar Bansal, has come under fresh scrutiny as reports suggest that the minister’s family members and close aides received loans amounting to crores from the state owned Canara Bank.
Not just that, the bank had also appointed Sunil Kumar Gupta, chartered accountant of the Bansal family on its board of directors in 2007, at a time when Bansal was minister of state for finance.
Gupta was later promoted to the post of a shareholder director and within months of his elevation, a loan of about Rs. 75 crore was given to companies owned by the Bansals and their associates.
Hindustan Times could not contact Canara Bank chairman RK Dubey on the issue. However, a senior government official said that the top management could also come under scrutiny as “such huge loan amounts need the approval of the top management.”
“The bank could be asked to prepare a detailed report on the issue with explanations,” a source who did not wish to be identified said.
Reports suggest that Canara Bank approved a loan of about Rs. 75 crore to a pharmaceutical company and real estate firm when Bansal was in the finance ministry and after Gupta was appointed a director on the bank board.
While questions are being raised over the issue, Amarjit Chopra, former ICAI president said, “There is no issue if he has been appointed as director of the bank but in case if he has facilitated loans to companies in which the Bansal family is interested and if simultaneously it can be proved that he had been appointed by Bansal, only then it is a breach otherwise it can be an ethical issue not a legal one.”