The functioning of the Sector 8 branch of the Punjab National Bank in Panchkula is under the scanner in connection with the alleged Rs 50-crore fraud in distribution of compensation in land acquisition cases by the former district revenue officer-cum-land acquisition collector (DRO-cum-LAC) of Panchkula.
National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) undertook fourlaning of national highway-73 stretch between Yamunanagar to Panchkula and the DRO Panchkula was appointed as competent authority for land acquisition under the National Highways Act 1956. A sum of Rs 495 crore was deposited in the joint account of DRO-cum-LAC and project director, NHAI, in the Sector 8, Panchkula, branch of the PNB. In a letter to the chief manager of PNB, NHAI pointed out unauthorised and fraudulent transfers of funds and a total of seven fixed deposit receipt’s (FDR) from the joint account to an exclusive account of DRO-cum-LAC Panchkula. The funds were transferred without consent of the the joint account holder, that is, project director, NHAI. A total of five accounts in the name of DRO-cum-LAC were opened outside Panchkula district, at Jangpura (Delhi) branch of Punjab National Bank (PNB) during the tenure of Naresh Kumar Sheokand from 2012 to 2014. Sheokand is accused of committing irregularities in distribution of compensation in the land acquisition cases and is currenttly under suspension.
NHAI also pointed out that the balance confirmation statement given by the bank indicating balance as on March 31, 2014 showed a total of 17 FDR’s of Rs 10 crore each. The branch did not make any mention of seven FDR’s which were transferred to other branches.
The branch was also accused of providing false balance confirmation statement vide their letter dated April 11, 2015, wherein it was stated that there were 19 FDR’s amounting to over `185 crore and balance as on March 31, 2015 was over Rs 10 crore. The total amount was shown as Rs 195 crore. A total of five FDR’s which were shown in the statement of April 11 were deleted by bank vide its letter dated June 12 without any withdrawals having taken place from the main account. The NHAI claim that an amount of Rs 250 crore was transferred from their joint account to the exclusive account of DRO-cum-LAC on March 20, 2013, which was reverted to the original account on April 23, 2013. However, the interest on the amount for this period is to be credited in NHAI’s account.
General manager-cum-project director NHAI, OC Mathur said that they had taken up the issue of irregularities committed by the Sector 8, Panchkula, branch with the higher authorities of the bank.
Chief manager of Sector 8, Panchkula, PNB, said that he had joined the branch around 15 days ago and expressed his ignorance of the issue.