Appointment Process of Syndicate Bank CMD Under CBI Scanner

The appointment of suspended Syndicate Bank Chairman SK Jain has come under the CBI's scanner even as the initial probe into the bribery scandal indicated that the deal he struck with Prakash Industries was worth about Rs 3.5 crore.

CBI sources said they have also found that Jain was not the only top bank honcho who was dealing with middleman Pawan Bansal, who has emerged as a key actor in the case, and the agency is probing his links with the heads of at least three other financial institutions.

According to the sources, Jain may have received bribe of about Rs 3.5 crore from Prakash Industries for allegedly favouring the sanction of external commercial borrowings of USD 20 million.

Prakash Industries did not offer any comments and the mail sent in this regard remained unanswered.

"We will look into the process of Jain's appointment to see what had made him the preferred candidate for the top job," said a senior official of the agency.

Highly-placed sources in CBI said that the deal was allegedly struck through Bansal, one of the Directors of Altius Finserve Ltd, who made the payment to Jain but the agency missed the opportunity to nab him at the time of the transaction.

The sources said that Prakash Industries had submitted a proposal to Syndicate Bank for sanction of external commercial borrowings of USD 20 million for paying back foreign currency convertible bonds.

As per initial inquiries, Jain and Bansal were allegedly paid Rs 3.5 crore by Prakash Industries for clearing the proposal, the sources added. They clarified that the agency is still probing the mode of payment and other details as to how and when it was made.

They also said that the alleged bribe of Rs 50 lakh paid by Bhushan Steel to Jain for not declaring Rs 134 crore of bad loan as non-performing assets could be just one of the many instalments agreed upon.

In its FIR, CBI has alleged that accused Ved Prakash Aggarwal, Chairman of Prakash Industries, and company director Vipul Aggarwal were in regular touch with Bansal regarding the clearance of their proposal by Syndicate Bank, they said.

The agency has alleged that several rounds of personal meetings took place between Bansal and Jain in this regard and, in furtherance of the conspiracy, Bansal contacted Jain on July 14, 2014, requesting him to expedite the proposal of Prakash Industries.

The very next day, Prakash Industries' proposal was cleared by Jain, who also conveyed the development to Bansal. The clearance was granted despite several pending queries from Syndicate Bank General Manager, US Majumdar, the agency has alleged.

CBI has alleged that in order to expedite results, the company had earlier agreed to pay huge sums of money to Bansal for availing his services and it was agreed he would take care of further payments to Jain.

The agency has alleged that a major portion of the agreed upon money has already been provided to Bansal by Prakash Industries through one of its employees.

The sources said it has come to light that illegal gratification meant for Jain was allegedly delivered through another middlemen to Vineet Godha, who received it on behalf of Jain.

Emerging story. Watch this space for updates as more details come in
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