Shimla, March 17
The HP High Court today rejected the bail applications of seven people who were allegedly involved in the Kangra Central Cooperative Bank (KCCB) loan scam.
They are said to be involved in a deal of Rs 19.50 crore disbursed as a loan by KCCB to a bogus company, UR Sinter Pvt. Ltd., at Amb in Una district. The State Bureau of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption, Una, had registered an FIR in the matter on December 10, 2021.
Three of the seven petitioners, namely Shivam Seth, Chetan Negi and Sunita Seth, are the directors or promoters of the company. The other four petitioners namely Karnail Singh Rana, Lekh Raj, Yog Raj and Prakash Chand Rana are members of the KCCB loan committee.
While denying all seven bail applications, Judge Jyotsna Rewal Dua observed, “Given the nature and gravity of the charges facing the petitioners, their questioning in custody cannot be denied at this initial stage. Various companies linked to the loan amount and their accounts are still under investigation. The extent of the role played by members of the KCC bank credit committee in the entire episode is still under investigation.”
The judge observed: “Their interrogation in custody is also necessary not only to protect the interests of the bank but also in the interests of the general public who have deposited their hard-earned money”.
According to the indictment, on January 25, 2014, the company applied to Amb’s KCCB branch for a composite loan of Rs 19.50 crore, a term loan of Rs 4.50 crore and a cash credit limit of Rs 15 crore. The loan was requested for the installation of a sintering plant and the manufacture of lawnmowers in the village of Bambloo in Una.
After approval by the Loans Committee, KCCB Branch Manager Amb reviewed the company’s documents and found that the collateral offered by the company had been purchased only three months ago for Rs 2.29 crore, while for securing the loan, his appraisers showed the value of the same properties at Rs 21.3 crore and their distress value at Rs 16.72 crore.
It was alleged that in order to give undue advantages to the lender, the members of the loan committee also ignored the expert’s opinion.