Yes Bank case: CBI books former CG Power and Industrial Solutions chairman Gautam Thapar, others

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New Delhi, Jun 24 (PTI) The CBI on Thursday carried out searches at six locations after registering a fresh case of fraud of Rs 2,435 crore in State Bank of India and other consortium banks against former CG Power and Industrial Solutions chairman Gautam Thapar who is already under probe in more such cases, officials said.

CG Power and Industrial Solutions was earlier Crompton Greaves Ltd. The searches took place at locations in Mumbai, Delhi and Gurgaon.

This is a new case against Thapar, who was booked recently in Rs 466 crore fraud case in Yes Bank, the officials said. Thapar faces multiple Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) FIRs for alleged bank fraud and corruption, they said.

The present case is based on a complaint from the State Bank of India (SBI), which had an exposure of 12.81 per cent in the default amount of Rs 2,435 crore, on behalf of the consortium of 11 other lender banks, including Yes Bank, which has the second highest exposure of 11.75 per cent. Besides Thapar, the CBI has also booked CG Power and Industrial Solutions and the then executives, including chief executive officer and managing director K N Neelkanth, executive director and chief financial officer (CFO) Madhav Acharya, director B Hariharan, non-executive director Omkar Goswami and CFO Venkatesh VR.

The company, which has industrial and power systems facilities in India, Indonesia and Hungary, has been with the SBI from 1988.

On August 19, 2019, the company made disclosures to the Bombay Stock Exchange and the National Stock Exchange, stating that its liabilities, advances to related parties, net worth have been understated.

The company board had also stated that assets of the company were provided as collateral for enabling 'ostensibly unrelated third parties' to get loans which were immediately routed out of the company.

Following the disclosures, the board through a majority decision removed Thapar as chairman and Venkatesh VR as CFO on August 29, 2019, the SBI complaint, now part of the FIR said.

The banks also sanctioned a forensic audit of the company on September 27, 2019, which showed that company funds were transferred to group companies promoted by Thapar through a series of transfers to various companies.

Last year on September 7, look out notices were issued against Thapar, Neelkanth and Acharya.

The forensic audit done by the consortium brought out several anomalies forcing the lender banks to term the account as fraud.

The industrial land of the company in Nashik and Kanjurmarg were purportedly provided as collateral for enabling unrelated parties to get loans without due authorisation, the forensic report alleged.

Aditya Birla Finance had given a loan of Rs 150 crore to Blue Garden Estates Ltd on May 12, 2015, which had an advance of the same amount to CG Power and Industrial Solutions on the same day. In the next six days, CG Power and Industrial Solutions Ltd advanced Rs 145 crore to Avantha Holdings of Thapar, which then advanced Rs 150 crore to BILT Graphics (a group company of CG Power) between May 13 to May 30, 2016, the report alleged.

This was utilised for repayment of commercial paper, it stated underlining the Thapar's role in the fund transfer.

'Had the intention been genuine, sale of the land situated at Nashik, belonging to CG Power and Industrial Solutions Ltd, the funds would have been retained in the company and would not have been transferred to the group companies. Therefore the entire transaction appears to be colourable transactions, not genuine transaction,' it alleged.

The forensic audit suspected diversion of Rs 5,290 crore of company funds, the complaint said.

'It was alleged that the said accused had cheated SBI and other consortium member banks, including Bank of Maharashtra, Axis bank, Yes Bank, Corporation Bank, Barclays Bank, IndusInd Bank etc...,' the CBI said in a statement.

It is alleged in the FIR that they between 2015 and 2019 allegedly cheated the banks by way of diversion of bank funds and sham transactions with related parties.

They also allegedly misrepresented and falsified account books, entries, vouchers and financial statements providing false, incorrect or misleading information to secure credit which they siphoned off by diverting them to other companies, the statement said. PTI ABS ANB ANB

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