Baramati engineering firm, directors booked for cheating BoM, causing loss of Rs 33.3 cr

Sushant Kulkarni
The CBI has also booked unidentified bank officials in the case. (Representational photo)

THE Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB) of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Pune, has booked a Baramati-based engineering company, along with its directors and guarantors-mortgagers, for allegedly cheating Bank of Maharashtra and causing wrongful loss of of Rs 33.3 crore in the matter of various credit facilities availed by them from the bank between 2009 and 2015. The CBI has also booked unidentified bank officials in the case.

The CBI ACB had received a complaint in this regard from the zonal manager of Pune East Zone of the Bank of Maharashtra on November 1, based on which a Regular Case (RC), equivalent of a First Information Report, was filed by the CBI on November 4 after primary verification. The CBI subsequently booked Baramati-based Hi Tech Engineering Corporation India, its two directors Sanjay Awate and Rajendra Ingawale, its three guarantors-mortgagers Ashwini Awate, Manisha Ingawale and Sachin Dhawale, along with unidentified officials of Bank of Maharashtra. The agency also conducted searches in this regard on November 5.

The RC states that the company has availed various credit facilities like cash credit as working capital, term loan for purchase of machinery and non-funded facility like Bank Guarantee and Letter of Credit since 2009. The accused executed personal guarantees and mortgaged a total of 12 immovable properties in Baramati, Daund and Pune city.

It has been alleged that some of the accused availed further credit facilities in

2012 from a cooperative bank by offering mortgage of eight of the same 12 properties without the knowledge of Bank of Maharashtra.

Further, in 2013, the accused again registered the mortgage of three of those eight properties to avail another Letter of Credit from Bank of Maharashtra.

In February 2015, a Thailand-based biopower company, for which the accused firm was implementing a project, encashed the Bank Guarantees offered by Bank of Maharashtra because of alleged non-completion of the project. In November 2015, the loan accounts of the company were declared non-performing assets.

After repeated follow-ups for repayment, and a recall notice and legal notice, the Bank of Maharashtra has also filed suit against the company in the Debt Recovery Tribunal, Pune. In February 2017, Bank of Maharashtra published possession notice of five of the 12 properties and in November 2017, the other cooperative bank also published possession notice for the same properties. “Thus,

it is clear that the accused hatched a conspiracy and colluded with each other to defraud our bank and received unlawful gains,” the bank stated in the complaint.

While Bank of Maharashtra, in its complaint, has said the internal investigation did not reveal lapses or involvement on the part of their staff, the

CBI has booked unidentified officials of Bank of Maharashtra in its RC and a probe is being conducted in this regard. Superintendent of Police M R Kadole of Pune CBI confirmed that the searches in the case were conducted on November 5 and further probe is on.