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CBI orders internal inquiry in Syndicate Bank case

Tuesday, 5 August 2014 - 11:10pm IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: dna

The Central Bureau of Investigation chief Ranjit Sinha has ordered an internal inquiry asking why his team did not arrest vice-chairman of Bhushan Steel Neeraj Singhal during searches at his residence in the Syndicate Bank bribery case despite his clear instructions.

“We have ordered an internal inquiry into non-arrest of Neeraj Singhal by our team,” Sinha told reporters here. 

The CBI team conducted the raid at Singhal’s residence on Friday in his presence. Despite, Sinha’s clear directions, the team didn't arrest Singhal, giving him a notice under section 160 of CrPC asking him to appear before the investigators on Saturday. Since Friday Singhal is evading investigations and the agency has not been able to arrest him. He has filed an anticipatory bail application in a local court which is slotted for hearing on Wednesday. Another accused in the case Purshotam Totlani, a realtor, is also evading investigations. 

According to sources, the inquiry has been initiated to establish why wasn’t Singhal arrested despite clear orders of the agency chief himself. “And thus a disciplinary action can be initiated, if needed, against the officers concerned. 

CBI has arrested Syndicate Bank chairman and managing director SK Jain and eight others for allegedly accepting bribe of Rs 50 lakh to enhance the credit limit of some companies. The two FIRs were registered against Bhushan Steel Limited and Prakash Industries and Jain is named in both the FIRs, under relevant sections of Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 and criminal conspiracy.

The agency is also looking into all the loans disbursed under Jain's tenure, who assumed the office in July 2013. The bad loans, where relaxation is given to a borrower in contravention of the rules, are also under the scanner of the agency. 

Investigators claim that Jain himself negotiated the bribe over phone with Bhushan Steel, who had availed Rs100 crore loan from Sydicate Bank. He had assured the company that the account will not be declared as NPA, after the payment of the bribe. According to CBI, BSL had routed the money through hawala operators.

Prakash Industries, as per the CBI has availed loan of Rs120 crore from Syndicate Bank and later credit facilities were enhanced. CBI claims that the money has exchanged hands in this case as well and they are investigating, whether due diligence was followed while enhancing the credit facility.

CBI claims to have recovered cash to the tune of Rs21 lakh from Jain's residence besides gold worth Rs1.68 crore and fixed deposits of up to Rs63 lakh.

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