Simbhaoli Sugars booked; CBI grills Punjab CM's kin

Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh

The CBI on Thursday questioned Gurpal Singh, son-in-law of Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh, in connection with the alleged bank fraud case of Rs 97.85 crore by Simbhaoli Sugars Limited.

In its FIR registered last week, the agency has named Simbhaoli's chairman and managing director Gurmit Singh Mann, Gurpal Singh, Rao and seven others.

Gurpal, the deputy managing director of Uttar Pradesh's Hapur-based Simbhaoli Sugars Ltd, was quizzed by CBI investigators a week after the agency registered a case in connection with the complaint filed by the Oriental Bank in November a year ago.

The chief minister has denied any wrongdoings on the part of his son-in-law while the Congress had said the registration of the case was part of government's "witch-hunt".

The case was registered on February 22 following which searches were conducted on February 25 at eight premises in Delhi, Hapur and Noida.

Mr Rao, the then CFO Sanjay Tapriya, the then ED Gursimran Kaur Mann and five non-executive directors were also booked by the agency. "Some documents have been recovered and seized by the sleuths during the raids", a senior official told PTI.

The Enforcement Directorate also filed a money laundering case against the accused on the basis of CBI FIR. Gurpal Singh was questioned by the CBI on Thursday. The account turned Non Performing Asset (NPA) on March 31, 2015 and was later declared as alleged fraud by the bank to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on May 13, 2015 for an amount of Rs 97.85 crore. The second loan was declared NPA on 29 November 2016, almost 20 days after the demonetisation was announced, according to the CBI FIR.

The FIR, which was was reviewed by Mint, stated that Simbhaoli dishonestly and fraudulently diverted the loan amount for its own needs.

The FIR filed by the CBI says the bank sanctioned the loan in 2011 under an RBI scheme for financing 5,762 sugarcane farmers supplying produce to the company.

"They adjusted the total liability of Rs 112.94 crore on June 30, 2016, by way of deposit of this new corporate loan".



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