The arrest of Syndicate Bank's chairman-cum-managing director SK Jain on corruption charges has revealed the alleged employment of a circuitous, multi-city network, including four Bhopal-based hawala dealers, which transacted the Rs. 50 lakh bribe payment, official sources said.
Jain was nabbed by the CBI on Saturday, along with eight others, for allegedly accepting a bribe of Rs. 50 lakh via his intermediaries in Bhopal in lieu of not declaring as non-performing asset the Rs. 100-crore loan owed by the bank to one of the two firms that had defaulted.
"The bribe was paid to a few Bhopal-based hawala dealers known to the accused bribe-giver who in turn handed it over to another city-based middleman," said a CBI source.
While the suspected hawala dealers are absconding and might face arrest soon, the alleged middleman who received the bribe sum from the hawala dealers is among the nine arrested in the case. "The middleman then handed over the bribe sum to two Bhopal-based brothers who are related to the bank official. The bank official would negotiate directly but adopt a circuitous route for the transactions," said the source.
The bribe amount was seized from two brothers who have already been arrested. The accused firms and the individuals have denied any wrongdoing on their part. "We are noticing a definite trend. The bribe-takers are not employing hawala channels domestically though earlier hawala meant payments made abroad," the source said.
The CBI suspects that the accused bank official could have allegedly received another bribe sum for extending the credit limit of another private firm. "The telephonic transcripts suggest the bribe was already paid and the credit limit was extended, but we are trying to ascertain more details about the suspected payment," said the source.