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Rs 2.5-cr public sector bank fraud: Six get life sentence

The convicts are Manoharlal Ahuja, 65, and his son Amit; Mahesh Bohra, 63; Sandesh Nage, 51; Shantilal Chuhan, 66, and Bhagawanji Joshi, 73.

mumbai Updated: Apr 27, 2019 05:00 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Mumbai
Versova plot,Central Bureau of Investigation,bank fraud
Special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court on Friday sentenced six people, including a former assistant general manager (AGM) of a nationalised bank, to life imprisonment, in connection with a Rs 2.5 crore bank fraud.(AFP)

Special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court on Friday sentenced six people, including a former assistant general manager (AGM) of a nationalised bank, to life imprisonment, in connection with a Rs 2.5 crore bank fraud.

The convicts are Manoharlal Ahuja, 65, and his son Amit; Mahesh Bohra, 63; Sandesh Nage, 51; Shantilal Chuhan, 66, and Bhagawanji Joshi, 73. Another accused in the case, Yunus Memon, 64, was also convicted. However, his sentence was suspended for him to appeal before the higher court. He got a bail on Friday.

As per the prosecution, Ahuja and Amit had obtained various credit facilities and loan worth Rs 2.5 crore from a bank between 2000 and 2003 for a partnership firm – Swift Service Lining. To obtain the facilities, the Ahujas mortgaged the existing stocks of the firm in the warehouse and a Versova plot. The prosecution claimed that loan money was then diverted into various accounts.

After the Ahujas stopped the loan repayment, the bank initiated an internal inquiry and discovered that the documents submitted were forged. In 2004, a case was registered against the Ahujas, following which, they repaid the loan. CBI prosecutor Jitendra Kumar Sharma, however, had argued before the court that the repayment was made to save themselves from punishment and that even after the repayment, their “criminal liability of cheating the bank is not absolved.”

The court also imposed a fine of Rs 4.06 crore on all the accused, of which Rs 3 crore will be the compensation for the bank. Special judge SR Tamboli observed that the accused are habitual offenders and have cheated various national banks. “All the accused persons have committed an economic offence which are detrimental to financial health of the country,” the judge observed. He also compared the financial frauds with murder and rape.

During the probe, officers learnt that Bohra, Nage and Chauhan helped the Ahujas forge documents. Sharma had contended that the accused have also been found guilty in other cases of bank frauds. CBI also discovered that the Versova plot was a government property.

Joshi, who was the bank manager at the time, has been held guilty for being negligent while scrutinising the documents. The CBI claimed the documents of the property to be mortgaged were to be verified by Memon, but he was not vigilant in scrutinising them.

First Published: Apr 27, 2019 05:00 IST