PMC Bank fraud: ‘Officials knew of hidden HDIL loan accounts since 2017’
The charge sheet filed by the economic offences wing (EOW) of the Mumbai Police in the ₹6,670-crore fraud case against Punjab and Maharashtra Co-operative (PMC) Bank revealed that many senior officials of the multi-state financial institution knew of the “hidden” Housing Development and Infrastructure Limited (HDIL) loan accounts for at least two years before the scam came to light.
“Since 2017, many of the officials of PMC Bank were aware of shielded/hidden accounts of HDIL which were not disclosed, and in many accounts, the balances were also mutilated,” the charge sheet states. However, it is unclear what the EOW means by “mutilated” balances.
EOW has filed a charge sheet running into around 33,000 pages in the fraud case. It narrates in detail, how certain employees of the bank were forced to create false data to be submitted to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), to hide problematic loan accounts.
The charge sheet states, “HDIL group of companies are the largest borrower of PMC Bank and they have kept dues to the tune of ₹4,335.46 crore unpaid since 2008. Joy Thomas, (the then) managing director and other functionaries including the board of directors, and executives of PMC Bank intentionally reported false records of its accounts to the RBI to suppress the material position of loan accounts of the HDIL group.”
The agency claimed that several employees of the bank were engaged in creating these fictitious accounts. “It is revealed that Rupali Raut, executive of credit department; Kunal Oberoi, executive of information technology (IT) department; Kushaldeep Singh Chahal, senior executive of IT department (Finacle Core Team), and Santosh Gurav, project manager, IT department (Finacle Core Team) were engaged in creating fictitious loan accounts for the financial year ending in March 2018.
These employees are now listed as key witnesses by EOW to showcase how the camouflage of fictitious accounts was created by the bank to mislead RBI.
Raut, in her statement to EOW, has stated that she had created fictitious accounts in the system as per instruction of her superiors Geeta Singh, deputy general manager of IT and accounts; Manjit Kaur Ishwar Singh, joint general manager of credit department, and Thomas.
She further stated that she, along with officials of the IT department, created fictitious loan accounts for the financial years ending March 2015, March 2016, and March 2017.