Former SBI chairman Pratip Chaudhuri arrested in Delhi in loan scam case: Report

The arrest pertains to seizure of two hotels of the Godawan Group by the State Bank of India over non-repayment of 24 crore loan, and their subsequent sale to Alchemist ARC company, which Pratip Chaudhuri joined as a director after retiring from the SBI.
Former SBI chairman Pratip Chaudhuri. (PTI/Mitesh Bhuvad)
Former SBI chairman Pratip Chaudhuri. (PTI/Mitesh Bhuvad)
Updated on Nov 01, 2021 04:27 PM IST
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Written by Sharangee Dutta | Edited by Avik Roy, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

Former chairman of the State Bank of India (SBI) Pratip Chaudhuri has reportedly been arrested by the Jaisalmer Sadar police from his home in Delhi in a loan scam case.

According to reports, the case is associated with properties owned by Godawan Group wherein its properties were sold for 24 crore following their seizing by the bank at the time of Chaudhuri’s tenure.

Godawan Group reportedly took out a loan of 24 crore from the SBI in 2008 for constructing a hotel, even as the firm’s other hotel was operating at the time. However, it wasn’t late till the hotel was termed Non-Performing Assets (NPA) over non-repayment of the loan. Later, the bank went on to seize both the hotels of the Godawan Group and sell them to the Alchemist ARC Company at 25 crore.

Due to this, the Godawan Group approached the court. During assessment of the sold properties in 2017 after Alchemist ARC took over them the preceding year, it was revealed that their market value was at 160 crore. Currently, the cost of the properties is evaluated to 200 crore, reports stated.

Notably, Chaudhuri joined the Alchemist as a director following his retirement from the SBI.

Reports said that Alchemist’s Alok Dhir, against whom an arrest warrant was issued as well alongside Chaudhuri, has managed to escape. The chief judicial of the magistrate court in Jaisalmer, has issued the arrest warrant against six other individuals as well – RK Kapur, SV Venkatakrishnan, Sasi Methadil, Devendra Jain, Tarun and Vijay Kishore Sazena, reports added.

Calling Chaudhuri’s arrest “absolutely pathetic,” former deputy managing director (MD) of the SBI, Sunil Srivastava took to Twitter earlier in the day to cite his views. “Is the system being gamed again by defaulters despite all efforts by [the] Modi government? Time for overhaul of judicial processes to improve transparency and introduce accountability,” he tweeted.

Chaudhuri retired as the chairman of the SBI in 2013. He was succeeded by Arundhati Bhattacharya, who became the first woman to take on the role in 206 years. Bhattacharya’s tenure ended in 2016 as per law.

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Friday, May 20, 2022