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20 Oct 2020, Edition - 1925, Tuesday

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CBI quizzes RP Info Systems director in Rs 515-crore fraud


As the probe agencies speed up their probe in the Rs 12,700 crore PNB scam, many other frauds worth crores of rupees have come to light. In one such scam worth Rs 515 crore involving Kolkata’s RP Info Systems, the CBI questioned one of the company directors accused in the case on Monday. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) officials quizzed company director Shivaji Panja, and would question other officials soon. The complaint filed by a consortium of 17 banks says RP Info System and three of its directors defrauded them of Rs 515 crore loan. The agency has already raided the houses and the offices of all those accused in the case.

Earlier, Canara Bank had clarified that the complaint filed against RP Info Systems and its directors Shivaji Panja, Kaustuv Ray and Vinay Bafna for allegedly the consortium was a revised one. These directors allegedly took the loan on the basis of forged stocks and debtors’ statements, and then wilfully defaulted on it.

“The leader of the consortium had filed a case with CBI in May 2015. The account had been treated as fraud by our bank during October 2015 and reported to the RBI. Consequent upon the leader bank relinquishing its role as the leader of the consortium and as directed by CBI (BS&FC), Kolkata, we were authorised by the remaining member banks to file revised complaint with CBI,” Canara Bank had said in a statement. The other banks in the consortium included State Bank of India, State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur, Union Bank of India, Allahabad Bank, Oriental Bank of Commerce, Central Bank of India, State Bank of Patiala, Federal Bank, and Punjab National Bank, among others.

The case has been registered under sections 120B (criminal conspiracy) read with 420 (cheating), 468 and 471 (both related to forgery) of the IPC and the criminal misconduct by a public servant. The FIR says the accused were availing bank funds on the basis of ‘false and fabricated stock/receivables/ debtors statements, forged drawing power letter, etc.’

RP Infosystem had also inflated its receivables, Canara Bank mentioned in the FIR, as supposed debtors like Gail India, Vincent Electronics, and CEAT informed that they had no dealings with the company. Following this, Canara Bank filed the FIR with CBI with consent from other member banks of the consortium.

Panja, one of the directors of RP Infosystem has been involved in financial offences since long. In 2015, he was arresed dramatically while returning from Dhaka with West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. He was detained by the state police on the basis of a lookout notice by economic offences wing of Delhi police.

The CBI had booked Panja along with other directors of RP Infosystem in June 2015 for defrauding IDBI Bank of Rs 180 crore.

The bank, in its complaint on February 26, now part of the FIR, has alleged that the company, which manufactured computers under the brand name Chirag, had taken funds from the consortium from time to time from 2012 onwards. These loans have become NPAs, it said. The banks alleged that the company manipulated financial statements and did not route sale proceeds through the loan account.

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