Based on an allegation by Golf Technologies, a Magistrate's Court directed Delhi Police to issue notices to Axis Bank's CEO and its top officials with regard to a fraudulent transfer of Rs19.89 crore from its term loan account to that of Tulip Telecom. Golf Technologies alleges collusion because the sum transferred was allegedly shown as debt recovery by the Bank
Following direction from the Metropolitan Magistrate court, the Delhi police have filed a first information report (FIR) against Shikha Sharma, chief executive of Axis Bank as well as its chief operating officer and several senior officials of the Bank. The Court had also asked the police to conduct an investigation into a complaint filed by Golf Technologies (P) Ltd in an alleged fraud of Rs20 crore.
In the complaint, Delhi-based Golf Technologies alleged that the Bank officials forged signature of its director to release Rs19.89 crore from the company's term loan account to current account of a third party. The Company alleged that by forging signatures of its director Sandeep Sagar on a letter of instruction, the Bank transferred the money.
"It is her (alleged) signatures which have been shown to exist by the Bank on the alleged 'Letter of Instruction for Rs19.89 crore allegedly dated 31 December 2012, which is forged and which alleged letter has been forged and brought into existence by the accused Bank and its Officers on the day when this complainant (Sandeep Sagar) was not even in Delhi i.e. 31 December 2012," the complaint reads.
Besides Axis Bank and Shikha Sharma, the complaint mentions names of Siddarth Rath, president and chief operating officer of the Bank. Names of Anil Agrawal, circle head for New Delhi, Sharad Gupta, deputy vice president, Sankar Narayana Sarma, senior vice president, Vivek Bhat, vice president in credit/loans department, deputy vice presidents and relationship managers Deepa Rath, Sanjeev Kumar Singh, Vagish Rawal are also mentioned in the complaint.
Golf Technologies had also mentioned 14 other members of the Axis Bank Board in its complaint.
In its reply, an official spokesperson from Axis Bank, said, "A notice under The Securitization and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest (SARFAESI) Act has been issued against the Borrower for having defaulted in meeting its repayment obligations and the Bank is taking suitable action in this regard. The matter as reported is also being reviewed by our legal team. The bank follows robust systems and processes and believes in maintaining high standards in customer delivery, which are fully compliant with existing regulations."
According to the complaint, Golf Technologies had a relationship with Tulip Telecom Ltd from whom it had drawn about Rs27 crore in 2009 as advance to finance acquisition of a property at Mumbai that was to be developed as data centre. To complete construction of the data centre, Golf Technologies secured a credit facility of Rs50 crore from Axis Bank in September 2012.
Out of the sanctioned credit, Golf Technologies withdrew Rs30 crore in September 2012 itself by instruction the Bank to transfer the money from its term loan account into its current account. "Thereafter, the bank.... surreptitiously released the remaining loan sum of Rs20 crore on 31 December 2012 into the current account of the company with them," the complaint says.
Golf Technologies alleged that the Bank and its officials, then using the 'forged' letter of instruction transferred Rs19.89 crore from a 'fictitious current account number' in the company's name to cash credit account of Tulip Telecom. "Once the funds belonging to Golf Technologies were in their uninterrupted and continuing dominion (albeit, now in the cash-credit account of Tulip), from this transferee account and reportedly acting without any authority from Tulip either, they then reportedly proceeded to appropriate a sum of Rs19.64 crore towards alleged liabilities and/or transactions of the said company (Tulip) towards themselves," it said.
It further said, "Enquiries made by the complainants have revealed that despite this reduction in Tulip's drawings, they (the Bank) have refused to allow Tulip to draw further funds from the Bank within its sanctioned limits, but at the same time, have not released their charge proportionately over its properties."
"Therefore, it is crystal clear that this fraudulently-executed transfer of Rs19.89 crore from Golf Technologies to Tulip was intended to benefit only the accused Bank and its conspiring officers, who have taken personal credit for having recovered sums from Tulip for the benefit of the accused Bank," the complaint filed by Golf Technologies said.
The company also alleged that despite several requests, the Bank did not provide statement of its current and term loan accounts.
A 'serious' staff crunch at CBI is causing a problem in speeding up the probe against the multi-crore chit fund scam involving several politicians from West Bengal
The Special Crime Branch of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which started probing the Saradha multi-crore rupees Ponzi scheme scam four months ago, would file the first charge sheet by October end.
According to a senior official from CBI, by the end of October, the agency will file the first chargesheet on the basis of evidence it obtained after a series of arrests and interrogations.
The first charge sheet would cover a part of the investigations and those persons against whom adequate evidence had been found, he said.
The agency was probing aspects like criminal conspiracy, misappropriation of funds and criminal breach of trust in the Saradha episode.
He said so far the agency had arrested ten and interrogated numerous people to probe the conspiracy behind the scam, which left thousands of depositors cheated.
CBI had also summoned West Bengal Textiles Minister Shyamapada Mukherjee and painter Shuvoprasanna, a person close to the top Trinamool Congress leadership, in connection with the crime, the official said.
It would also grill those whose names had cropped during the interrogation of the accused.
Asked whether CBI would be deterred from interrogating influential political persons whose names surfaced in the probe fearing backlash, the official said "We are not at all concerned about what will happen. Our director has clearly told us that whomsoever is found to be guilty of offence should be interrogated. Nobody will be spared and we cannot afford to do so".
He said 'serious' staff crunch was causing a problem in speeding up the probe. "Only nine to ten officers are engaged in the Saradha probe. This is not sufficient.
With adequate cash reserves, it is time NLC management starts to think in terms of developing its own coal resources by expansion through additionally imported, advanced equipment, and generate more power
Press reports show that the Neyveli Lignite Corp (NLC) held its 58th annual general meeting (AGM) in Chennai, when B Surinder Mohan, chairman and managing director explained to shareholders about various projects that were being undertaken by them.
These include projects in Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Telengana, Odisha and Chhattisgarh, apart from its home state of Tamil Nadu. The projects range from 50 MW to 150 MW. He explained that, additionally, NLC is also looking up opportunities for development in acquiring assets abroad, in far off places like Australia, Indonesia and Mozambique.
Even for some of their projects, outside Tamil Nadu, where Neyveli Lignite is actively associated, ironically, they too face the shortage of coal and the imperative need to secure supplies. This would cover obtaining "clearances", as usual. The two major projects in the pipeline are the 1,000 MW plant at Tuticorin and its own plant at Sirkali for 4,000 MW.
In the last couple of days, TV channels have been reporting the precarious inventory conditions of the power plants in the country and almost 58 plants have hardly a weeks' supply. All the assurances that have been given, including the 58 million tonnes of stock pile at various places and pitheads, it would appear, have not come to the rescue. In fact, Coal India has not made any announcement about the action taken to move this coal by a "coal express" to these power generators.
It is a sad commentary on how this apex organisation is working, if at all. After all the "work" done to get the fuel supply agreements (FSAs) from various consumers, what is the net result? We need to hear from someone who is responsible and who can deliver the goods in such trying circumstances.
We now revert back to the work in progress in Neyveli's work in its own backyard.
According to the annual report, the new thermal power plant (2 x 500 MW), sanctioned by the union government in June 2011, is expected to be commissioned by October 2017 and April 2018, ‘as per current status’. It appears that BHEL has been given the contract for steam/ turbo generator package and the balance of the plant has been awarded to Essar Projects. Why not revisit this contract and seek earlier delivery of the equipment?
In the case of the coal block at Pachwara South, in Jharkhand (reserves 279 million tonnes), Central Mine Planning & Design Institute Ltd (CMPDI) is carrying out exploratory drilling. Ministry of Coal had, similarly, given Jilga Barpali in Chhattisgarh (546 mt) and these are in progress. In the case of the joint venture among NLC, Mahanadi Coalfields and Hindalco, the coal mining at Talabira, in Odisha is "awaiting" environmental clearance. Likewise, Bithnock Thermal power project, linked with the coal mine at Bithnok in Rajasthan, environmental clearance can be obtained only after forest clearance, for which, it seems necessary application has been made.
A study of the annual report indicates that, like all other organisations, NLC are also having the stumbling blocks for clearances of one or the other; land acquisition continues to be a problem where owners have been demanding jobs as well. Rehabilitation is very much part of the corporate social responsibility and NLC seems to have a fairly good record in this area.
With adequate cash reserves, it is time NLC management starts to think in terms of developing its own coal resources by expansion through additionally imported, advanced equipment, and generate more power so as to ensure adequate supply not only to Tamil Nadu, but to all other sister states in the South.
Such a move will reduce dependence on power being obtained from the Northern grid, which is now linked to the Southern grid, but will "release" the excess power that could be used elsewhere. For this purpose, if BHEL and other equipment suppliers are unable to bring their delivery forward, it is time NLC starts looking for secondary support sources of supply. Import the equipment, if necessary to avoid years of waiting time for domestic supply, unless other related work is time consuming to complete.
The time frame on all accounts- from conception to completion - must be brought down dramatically.
(AK Ramdas has worked with the Engineering Export Promotion Council of the ministry of commerce. He was also associated with various committees of the Council. His international career took him to places like Beirut, Kuwait and Dubai at a time when these were small trading outposts; and later to the US.)