Investigations have revealed that Punjab National Bank (PNB), Zoo Road branch had fraudulently sanctioned loans amounting to Rs 2.58 crores in 2016 to one Banwari Lal Pareekh for the purchase of apartments. The role of the officials of (PNB) was probed to ascertain if they were involved in the scam that has already led to the arrest of five persons.
The gang allegedly siphoned off Rs 2.58 crores from the bank’s branch.
The bank officials were quizzed on Monay, March 12th, and the documents taken from them were examined minutely.
The five persons who have been arrested are Phanidhar Talukdar, Amarendra Kalita, Banwari Lal Pareekh, Saroj Sarma and Sailendra Roy. They were taken into judicial custody on 9th March after three days of police remand.
Though a sale agreement and a tripartite agreement were executed between the real estate group (owned by Phanidar Talukdar), Pareek and the PNB, no sale deed has been submitted so far to the bank.
On 17th January 2018, a complaint was registered by the senior officials of PNB against Pareek and another person following which Pareek, Talukdar and three others were arrested. An official said that four among the accused were employees of Phanidhar Talukdar who has a firm in Jaya Nagar near Beltola.
The role of two bank officials – former assistant general manager, Bharat Singh and former loan executive, VK Choudhury – has come under scanner, BIEO sources revealed. Both were working with the Zoo Road branch when the loans were sanctioned. The investigating agency has not ruled out the possibility of the involvement of more people in the scam.
A senior State Bank of India (SBI) official explained that there are different levels where fraudulent activity can take place in a bank. He said that the maximum scope for frauds lie at the level of verification of documents which is a mandatory step before a loan is sanctioned. The verification process is lengthy which is vetted by the loan executives and a panel of advocates.
The official was of the view that BIEO will have to scrutinise the verification process that gave the green signal for the loan to Pareek and his associates.