CBI books ex-Aircel promoter, his firms in Rs 600 crore bank fraud

CBI registered a case against C Sivasankaran and two of his companies for defaulting a Rs 600 crore loan sanctioned by IDBI bank.
CBI books ex-Aircel promoter, his firms in Rs 600 crore bank fraud
CBI books ex-Aircel promoter, his firms in Rs 600 crore bank fraud
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The CBI has registered a case against former Aircel promoter C. Sivasankaran, his companies Axcel Sunshine Ltd and Finland-based WinWinD Oy for defaulting a loan of Rs 600 crore sanctioned by IDBI bank, an official said on Thursday.

The agency on Thursday also carried out searches at 50 locations across 10 cities, including at the residences of former senior IDBI bank officials.

Searches were simultaneously conducted across Delhi, Mumbai, Faridabad, Gandhinagar, Chennai, Bangalore, Belgaum, Hyderabad, Jaipur and Pune. 

The CBI filed an FIR on charges of criminal conspiracy, cheating and corruption against British Virgin Islands-based Axcel Sunshine Ltd on allegations of perpetrating fraud through the loan accounts of WinWinD Oy and Axcel Sunshine Ltd.

A total of 39 entities, companies and individuals, including top (then and current) IDBI officials are named in the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) FIR which was based on Central Vigilance Commission's reference.

Apart from Sivasankaran and his two firms, the FIR names 12 other individuals (director and chairman of private firms), including two foreigners; nine companies and 15 IDBI bank officials.

Sivasankaran allegedly took a loan of Rs 523 crore through his companies in February 2014. This swelled to Rs 600 crore after becoming Non-Performing Asset, said the official. 

It was Sivasankaran who earlier said former Telecom Minister Dayanidhi Maran had pressurised him to sell his stakes in Aircel to Malaysian firm Maxis in 2006, on the basis of which CBI had filed a chargesheet.

"It was alleged that Finland-based firm WinWinD Oy was sanctioned loan by ICG (Institutional Client Group), Chennai, IDBI in October 2010 to the extent of USD equivalent of EUR 52 million (around Rs 322.40 crore)," the CBI official said. 

According to the official, performance of WinWinD Oy showed stress and it was eventually granted voluntary bankruptcy by a court in Finland in October 2013.

"It was further alleged that in February/March 2014 a loan amounting to $83 million (Rs 523 crore) was sanctioned by IDBI to Axcel Sunshine. This was allegedly used for repaying other loans of other associate companies of this group in flagrant violation of the regulatory guidelines of Reserve Bank of India on foreign investments in India," said the official. 

Further allegation was that the loans were granted to the companies by the IDBI at its highest decision making level comprising of the senior most management and even independent directors, disregarding the existing guidelines, instructions and procedures and subsequently, various conditions were relaxed or all together ignored, the CBI said. 

"This is a case of fraud on the bank by the then executives of the bank, then promoters of the group and companies involved to derive wrongful gain and to cause loss to the bank to the tune of Rs 600 crore," CBI said. 

The accused IDBI bank officials are then Chief Managing Director (CMD) M.S. Raghavan, then Deputy Managing Director (DMD) B.K. Batra, then IDBI DMD and serving CEO of Indian Bank Melwyn Rego, then Executive Director and current DMD of IDBI bank G.M. Yadwadkar and then independent Directors P.S. Shenoy, S.Ravi and Ninad Karpe.

General Managers K. Bizu George and Venkata Krishnan along with then Regional Manager and current Deputy General Manager (DGM) Manoj Alex, then Chief General Manager (CGM) and serving Executive Director Subrato Gupta, then Executive Director Vinay Kumar, then DGM and serving General Manager G. Suneel Babu, then Executive Director B. Rabindra Nath, then CMD and current MD and CEO of Indian Bank Kishore Kharat are also named in the FIR.

Besides Sunshine and WinWinD Oy, the accused firms are British Virgin Islands-based BroadCourt Investment and Lotus Venture Investments, Mauritius-based Indian Telecom Holdings Ltd, Singapore-based Siva Palm Corp Ltd, Chennai-based Sterling Agro Product and Processing Pvt Ltd, Bengaluru-based Planet Pickles Pvt Ltd, Siva Industries and Tiruvallur-based WinWind Power Energy Ltd.

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