by: Dinesh Unnikrishnan
State Bank of India (SBI) on Monday began an internal investigation into the bribery charges raised by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) against Shyamal Acharya, one of its deputy managing directors.
A two-member committee, consisting of two senior managing directors, is investigating the matter. SBI has also put Acharya on a forced leave following the developments.
Hemant Contractor and A. Krishnakumar are the senior-most among SBI’s managing directors. None of them were available for comments.
The CBI conducted raids simultaneously at three locations, including offices and residences of Acharya, a former SBI executive K.K. Kumra and Piyoosh Goyal, founder of the Worlds Window Group, a New Delhi-based company, according to CBI officials who declined to be named.
Goyal had sought a loan of Rs.400 crore from SBI of which Rs.75 crore was approved. The agency has arrested Kumra in connection with the case.
“We have been advised by CBI that Shyamal Acharya of our bank is being investigated. Acharya has been asked to proceed on leave,” SBI said in a communication.
“We are all shocked. Such instances are unheard in SBI,” said a SBI official, who did not want to be named. This is not the first time public sector bankers are dragged into bribery charges. In November, 2010, CBI had busted a racket where key executives in large finance companies, including banks and India’s largest insurer sanctioned large corporate loans and disclosed confidential information in return for bribes.
The agency arrested five executives from Life Insurance Corp. of India (LIC), LIC Housing Finance Ltd, Bank of India, Central Bank of India and Punjab National Bank. CBI also arrested three top executives at money market intermediary Money Matters Financial Services Ltd for allegedly bribing executives in finance companies to issue large loans to clients.
The CBI said in a release on Monday that Goyal had paid Kumra Rs.25 lakh for sanctioning the loan and that another Rs.15 lakh was to be paid to Acharya, which was paid to him in kind, in the form of two wrist watches of Rs.7.5 lakh each.
“After delivery of the said wrist watches, the adviser (former SBI official) was apprehended by CBI and the said two wrist watches were also recovered from the office cabin of the deputy managing director, State Bank of India,” the agency said.
“Searches at residential and office premises of the accused persons were conducted. The cash of Rs.7 lakh (approx); certain locker keys and other incriminating documents were recovered from the residential premises of the former SBI official. Gold and jewellery worth Rs.67 lakh (approx); locker key, documents pertaining to investments in fixed deposits and others and other incriminating documents recovered from the residence of deputy managing director of SBI.
A cash of Rs.15 lakh (approximately); jewellery and other incriminating documents were recovered from the residence of the chairman of private company. Incriminating documents recovered during searches are being scrutinized for further investigation,” the release said. Kumra has been sent to police custody till 27 November.
This article was written by Dinesh Unnikrishnan and originally published on livemint