CBI books Visa Power for bank fraud of Rs 1,964 crore

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The agency’s actions were set into motion based on a complaint lodged by Punjab National Bank (PNB), a member of a consortium of 14 lenders that had sanctioned term loans totaling Rs 1,964 crore. PNB held the position of the lead bank within this consortium and had approved a loan of Rs 394 crore.

According to sources, the bank has leveled allegations against the company and the individuals named as accused in the FIR, namely Saran, and directors Vikas Agarwal and Subrato Trivedi. The allegations stem from their engagement with the bank for procuring loans aimed at developing a coal-based thermal power project in Raigarh, Chhattisgarh, with a power generation capacity of 1,200 MW.

The FIR outlines that it has come to light that these accused individuals, through a collusion and mutual conspiracy, have orchestrated actions resulting in undue financial benefit to themselves. This, however, has led to substantial financial loss amounting to Rs 1,964 crore for the banks, along with accrued interest from the date of the account’s classification as a non-performing asset (NPA).

The project was executed in two phases, each comprising a power generation capacity of 600 MW. Its funding was envisioned through a consortium of lending institutions. However, the project’s account was classified as an NPA during the period of 2015-16 due to various factors.

These included the failure to meet significant milestones, such as the non-contribution of promoters’ shares, the expiration of coal linkages, the termination of the power purchase agreement, and the delays in obtaining environmental clearance.

The complaint from PNB maintains that a conspiracy had been orchestrated by the accused individuals with the clear intent of defrauding public sector banks. This was carried out through acts of diverting and misappropriating funds, and it resulted in the commission of various offenses under the pertinent sections of the Indian Penal Code.

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