In a move aimed at getting to the root of the bad loan menace, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has expanded its probe concerning non-performing assets (NPAs) of public sector banks, with 27 cases already registered against nine companies figuring in the list of top 30 alleged willful defaulters.
The agency has also filed chargesheets in nine cases in the court, and few more cases would be submitted soon. The CBI is likely to register more cases against other companies or groups in the coming weeks.
The Bank Securities and Fraud Cell of CBI started verifications and investigations in NPAs of various public sector banks last year and undertook several preliminary enquiries against the alleged defaulting companies.
A few companies against whom the cases have been registered are Rajat Pharma/Group, Century Communications, Deccan Chronicle Holdings Limited, Pixion Media Private Limited, STCL Limited and Zoom Developers Private Limited. According to officials, CBI has already filed chargesheets in cases concerning Rajat Pharma and Century Groups.
According to the list of defaulters released by All India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA) last month, Rajat Pharma/Group has not paid loans of around Rs 434 crore. Similarly, Century Group has not paid loans of around Rs 624 crore.
AIEBA has released list of 406 defaulter accounts amounting to Rs 70,300 crore, against whom banks have initiated legal action. The top fifty defaulters have unpaid loans of about Rs 40,528 crore. However, Kingfisher Airlines, which is topping the defaulter list with Rs 2,673 crore unpaid loans, is yet to face any action from CBI.
CBI chief Ranjit Sinha last month stated that there has been a sharp rise in the NPAs of commercial banks. The gross NPAs of the Public Sector Banks were Rs 164,462 crore in March 2013 comprising 3.6% of gross advances and are estimated to have grown further, as on March 2014. According to Sinha, considerable delay in identification, classification and reporting of frauds by the financial sector helps the corporates or borrowers to defraud the banking system. "It leads to loss of time enabling the fraudster to dispose the available assets making task of investigative agencies difficult," he said.
As of now, the agency is focusing on top 30 defaulters and is also investigating the role of public servants, who may have helped the corporates to get loans, sometimes, without proper verification and documentation. The agency had also availed help of financial experts to scrutinize the several thousand documents submitted by the banks, corporates and other government departments.
"Investigations in many cases are at final stage. And some more cases would be filed soon,"said a senior CBI official.
The top defaulters with more than Rs 1,000 crore unpaid loans, as per AIBEA, include Kingfisher Airlines (Rs 2,673 crore), Winsome Diamond and Jewellery Co Limited (Rs 2,660 crore), Electrotherm India Limited (Rs 2,211crore), Zoom Developers Pvt Ltd (Rs 1,810 crore), Sterling Bio Tech Limited (Rs 1,732 crore), S Kumars Nationwide Limited (Rs 1,692 crore), Surya Vinayak Industries Limited (Rs 1,446 crore), Corporate Ispat Alloys Limited (Rs 1,360 crore), Forever Precious Jewellery & Diamonds (Rs 1,254 crore), Sterling Oil Resources (Rs 1,197 crore) and Varun Industries (Rs 1,129 crore).