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HindustanTimes Fri,29 Aug 2014

Bankers under lens for giving Rs. 22 cr loan to industrialist, kin

Hillary Victor, Hindustan Times  SAS Nagar, November 23, 2013
First Published: 10:32 IST(23/11/2013) | Last Updated: 10:45 IST(23/11/2013)

Senior officers of Punjab and Sind Bank, Manimajra, are under scanner as the police have asked them to join investigation in the case wherein they had given a loan of Rs. 22 crore to noted industrialist Sushil Sharma, who disappeared after defaulting on the bank loan and exploiting the trust of fellow industrialists for another Rs. 33 crore.

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In September, the police registered a case against Sharma and his son Ashutosh Sharma, directors of Summit Engineering Private Limited, and Lider Sanitation located at Industrial Area, Phase 7, SAS Nagar, and Faucet India, Baddi (HP) and daughter Bhawana Chaudhary.

The family is absconding for the past three months. The police have also named Punjab and Sind Bank in the FIR for accepting the fake balance sheets, stock statements and valuation reports for the loan.

Interestingly, the district court has also issued notices against all three of them under section 82 of the CrPC to appear in court before December 21, failing which they will be declared proclaimed offenders.

The bank officers, who have been asked to join the investigation on November 24, include Iqbal Singh Bhatia, the then general manager posted at local head officer, Chandigarh; Ravinder Gosian, former general manager; SS Soin, former chief manager; and Ravinder Mohan Srivastava, the then chief manager, Manimajra branch, Chandigarh, now posted at Delhi.

Surprisingly, chartered accountant Mahip Kamboj, who audited the balance sheets of the companies, has alleged that the company had misused their letterhead and given fake balance sheets to bank for procuring loan.

Speaking to HT, Kamboj said, "I was shocked to see that they have used my letterhead despite not being my clients and I am not aware of anything."

Whereas, in all, nine balance sheets of all three companies in the past three years carry his stamps and signatures.

Srivastava said, "The loan was given as per norms and we will cooperate with the police."

Investigating officer Sulekh Chand said, "The bank officers are equally responsible as they gave huge loan without verifying the documents. During investigation, it was found that a loan of Rs. 22 crore was much higher than the sanctioned norms, as the actual turnover of all three units of the Sharmas' was no more than Rs. 20 crore, making them eligible for only around Rs. 5 crore."

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