SBI ex-chairman arrest: Raj Police intensify search for others, fear accused fleeing country

Insight Online News

Jaisalmer/New Delhi, Nov 7 : The Rajasthan Police have stepped up vigil in the SBI loan scam as it is being feared that other accused may flee the country.

The fears have increased as one of the accused Alok Dhir, who is a promoter of Alchemist Asset Reconstruction Company and IRR Insolvency Professionals Pvt. Ltd., has got an anticipatory transit bail from Delhi High Court, to apply for regular bail in Rajasthan, but sources said he was not responding to notices for questioning and has been evading arrest since October 23. 

Jaisalmer Superintendent of Police Ajay Singh did not respond to IANS phone calls and messages on the issue of lookout notices being served on the accused.

Along with Dhir, Rajasthan Police have also issued notices to a General Manager and a Vice President of another bank.
 
Ajay Singh had said that the Chief Judicial Magistrate’s (CJM) Court had issued an arrest warrant against Alok Dhir with seven others under several IPS Sections, including 420 (cheating) and 120B (punishment of criminal conspiracy). Realising the magnitude of the scams, the Rajasthan Police had informed the Enforcement Directorate immediately after it got an arrest warrant against him from Jaisalmer Court on October 23. 

Similar warrants against Dhir, R.K. Kapur, S.V. Venkatakrishnan, Methadil, Devendra Jain, Tarun and Vijay Kishore Saxena were also issued.

According to sources, the Jaisalmer police and other agencies are likely to initiate a preliminary investigation on Dhir’s role as a middleman in several cases to assess the damage to the banking sector done by him in connivance with bankers and borrowers. 

During preliminary investigations, sources said, Jaisalmer police have detected his involvement in several loans and recovery processes not only with the SBI but also other banks.

Based on the initial investigations, the Rajasthan Police (Economic Offence Wing) have intensified its further investigations. 

In the SBI case, the CJM Court of Jaisalmer, after a long hearing, agreed that selling the hotel without getting it auctioned amounted to cheating. The Court on October 23 issued arrest warrants against eight people, including Alok Dhir and Former SBI Chairman Pratip Chaudhary, following which the Jaisalmer police arrested the former Chairman.

According to the police, the hotel group had taken a loan of Rs 24 crore from SBI in 2008 for the construction purpose. At that time, another hotel of the group was running smoothly. After that, when the group could not repay the loan amount, the bank seized both the hotels of the group after considering it as a non-performing asset. At that time, the chairman of the bank was Pratip Chaudhary.

The bank then sold both the hotels to a company for Rs 25 crore at a much lower price than the market rate. On this, the hotel group went to court.

Meanwhile, the buyer company took over it in 2016 and when this property was valued in 2017, its market value was found to be Rs 160 crore. At the same time, after retirement, Pratip Chaudhary joined the same company as a director to which this hotel was sold. At present, the value of these hotels is being estimated at Rs 200 crore.

However the SBI had in the statement said, “It appears from the copies of the proceedings now accessed by us that the Hon’ble Court does not appear to have been briefed correctly on the sequence of events. In as much as SBI was not a party to this case, there was no occasion for the views of SBI being heard as part of this proceedings. SBI would like to reiterate that all due processes were followed while making the said sale to ARC. The Bank has already offered its cooperation to the Law Enforcement and Judicial authorities and will provide further information, if any, that may be called for from their side.” 

IANS / AGENCY

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