The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has lodged a case against IL&FS Transportation Network Ltd and its directors on charges of defrauding 19 banks of Rs 6,524 crore between 2016 and 2018.
IL&FS Transportation Network Ltd is a subsidiary of IL&FS, which had filed for bankruptcy in 2018.
The banks affected by this alleged fraud include the Punjab National Bank, the Bank of India, the State Bank of India, the Axis Bank, the Yes Bank, and several others.
A source said that a written complaint was received on May 26 at the Bhopal office from Bhavendra Kumar, Chief General Manager, Canara Bank Circle Office, New Delhi, alleging that IL&FS Transportation Network Ltd (ITNL), with an office in Bandra (East) Mumbai, and its directors and CFO, namely Karunakaran Ramchand, Deepak Das Gupta, Mukund Gajanan Sapre, and Dilip Lalchand Bhatia, entered into a criminal conspiracy to cheat 19 banks under multiple banking arrangements led by Canara Bank.
“The accused misappropriated the sanctioned credit facilities by engaging in cheating, diversion of funds, circular transactions between related sister concerns, and misrepresentation of books of income and expenditures. Through these corrupt practices, they caused a loss of Rs 6,524 crore to the banks,” read the FIR accessed by IANS.
Incorporated in India on November 29, 2000, the ITNL is a developer, operator, and facilitator of surface transportation infrastructure projects, from conceptualisation through commissioning to operations and maintenance, under Public-Private Partnerships based in India.
It is the largest BOT road asset owner in India and a market leader in the transport infrastructure sector, with a presence in metro rail, city bus services, and border check posts.
“For the said business, ITNL had availed various credit facilities under Multiple Banking Arrangement (MBA). Canara Bank, being the largest lender, sanctioned a Term Loan of Rs 500 crore under Rupee Term Loan and External Commercial Borrowing (ECB) of $75 million ($25 million from Canara Bank, London Branch and $50 million from e-Syndicate Bank, London branch) to the borrower company,” as the complaint.
The complaint further states that ITNL has also availed credit facilities under Multiple Banking Arrangement from 18 other banks, with a total exposure of Rs 6,831.00 Crores (sanctioned loan/FB + Sanctioned NFB limits).
However, due to irregularities in the credit facility, the account slipped into the Non-Performing Assets (NPA) category on December 30, 2018, in Canara Bank.
“Forensic audit conducted in the account disclosed fraudulent activities committed by the borrower company, and hence fraud was declared on September 23, 2021, in Canara Bank. All other member banks under MBA also declared the account as fraud,” the complaint read.
The CBI has lodged a case under Section 120-B of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), read with Section 420 of the IPC, and Sections 13(2) and 13(1)(d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act against ITNL and its directors and CFO Ramchand, Gupta, Sapre, and Bhatia.