The anti-corruption branch of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), on Thursday, registered cases against three senior officials of Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) for cheating and causing the company to lose Rs 6.4 crore.
The CBI also charged a branch manager of Dena Bank and a gas cylinder supply agency for conspiring with HPCL officials.
The case was registered after CBI found the gas cylinder supplier illegally availed credit facility from HPCL between 2006 to 2008 with the help of the company’s officials and branch manager of Dena Bank.
The CBI registered cases against S.N. Pradhan, S.P. Donadkar, chief regional managers of HPCL during the scam, Chandrakant Chunkare, the then deputy general manager (finance) at HPCL, Byculla, S.K. Ashwini, branch manager, Dena Bank, Kalamboli branch, Nihalchand and Jinesh Jain, owners of Lalit Gas Agency, Panvel.
CBI said the Jains gave forged documents to HPCL to avail credit facility for gas cylinders. Pradhan, who was empowered to give credit facility of Rs 20 lakh, enhanced the Jains’s credit limit to Rs 1.2 crore from September 2006 to May 2007 and did not take the mandatory bank guarantee.
Similarly, Donadkar increased their credit limit to Rs 55 lakh in March 2008 without a bank guarantee.
CBI said the Jains continued to take gas cylinders beyond the credit limit by giving 398 cheques of Dena Bank amounting to Rs 8.01 crore, as guarantee.
When HPCL officials deposited the cheques with their bank, HDFC, it sent the same to Dena Bank to get the amount transferred.
Ashwini, who was branch manager of Dena Bank, did not inform HDFC immediately that there were no funds in the Jains’ account. After a few days, Ashwini allegedly sent back the cheques from December 2008 to January 2009 informing HDFC that there were no funds.
“However, till then the Jains continued to receive cylinders from HPCL and the outstanding amount went up to Rs 9.6 crore,” a CBI official said.
On learning of the fraud, other HPCL officials stopped supply of cylinders to the Jains. However, HPCL only had a bank guarantee worth Rs 3.2 crore from the Jains, which they adjusted against the outstanding dues.