5 ICICI Bank officials, firm booked for cheating Mumbai hotelier of 120-cr

The banking (fraud) unit of Mumbai Police’s economic offences wing (EOW) has registered a cheating case against five senior executives of ICICI Bank and an assets reconstruction company (ARC) for allegedly causing wrongful loss of 120 crore to a hotelier
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Published on Jul 13, 2021 12:54 AM IST
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By Vijay Kumar Yadav

The banking (fraud) unit of Mumbai Police’s economic offences wing (EOW) has registered a cheating case against five senior executives of ICICI Bank and an assets reconstruction company (ARC) for allegedly causing wrongful loss of 120 crore to a hotelier.

The case is registered on the basis of a complaint lodged on Saturday by Vishal Sharma, 48, director of Hotel Horizon Pvt Ltd, located at Juhu Tara Road.

“The five senior ICICI Bank executives were then working on the posts of group executive, general manager, deputy general manager and relationship manager and assistant relationship manager at the bank’s BKC (Bandra-Kurla Complex) headquarters,” said a senior EOW officer.”

Sharma has alleged that the accused bankers, ARC and others caused the loss of 120 crore to him since 2011, when he had first applied for a loan of 351 crore. EOW officers said Sharma tried to avail the loan by mortgaging properties worth 1,200 crore.

“The bank’s management committee needed the credit committee’s sanction for discussing the loan amount. The management committee had, however, not informed the credit committee about the hotelier’s loan requirement. Instead, they allegedly made changes in the loan proposal and placed it before the credit committee, and kept Sharma in dark about it,” said an EOW officer.

Sharma had alleged in the complaint that the accused bankers informed him that his loan was sanctioned, and that the amount would be disbursed in phases. Though he was informed of getting of 25 crore in the first phase, the bank deducted 15.5 crore from the loan amount as processing fees and Sharma only received 9.5 crore.

“The said officials also allegedly showed a profit (which the bank was supposed to gain by sanctioning the loan) in the bank’s records and audit. They allegedly did this without processing the mortgaged properties and disbursing the entire loan amount to the applicant,” an EOW officer said requesting anonymity.

The bank failed to disburse the entire loan amount to Sharma on pretexts such as non-compliance of all the terms and conditions mentioned in the loan agreement, the officer added.

Sharma followed up on the matter with the bank for years.

The accused bankers then started coercing Sharma for a final settlement and asked him to pay 45 crore as the final settlement amount which would include the interest on the loan amount disbursed to the applicant and also the final settlement amount. This was done so that the bank could close Sharma’s loan file, the police said.

The bank then allegedly sold the loan to the private asset reconstruction company ARC, which Sharma was not aware of. He learnt about it after ARC initiated recovery proceedings against him by staking a claim of 120 crore on the mortgaged assets.

Sharma then decided to approach the police a few months ago to initiate criminal proceedings against the bank and ARC.

The banking (fraud) unit-2 had conducted a preliminary inquiry into Sharma’s complaint and after it prima facie established that a cognisable offence can be make out from the allegations registered a first information report (FIR) under sections 420 (cheating) and 34 (common intention) of Indian Penal Code at BKC police station and took over the investigation on Saturday.

“We will soon summon the accused and other witnesses to record their statement. We have already written to the bank, seeking documents pertaining to the said loan file,” another EOW officer said.

An ICICI Bank spokesperson alleged, “The company is a defaulter to the Bank. The previous complaints by the company on the same matter were rejected not only by the EOW but also by the Banking Ombudsman. We will continue to co-operate with the investigating authority.”

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Thursday, October 28, 2021