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Bribe cuffs on bank chief

New Delhi, Aug. 2: The chairman-cum-managing director of Syndicate Bank, one of the top 10 public sector banks in the country, was arrested by the CBI today on charges of taking a bribe to extend the credit limit of some defaulting companies.

The CBI has filed two FIRs against S.K. Jain, which also name Neeraj Singhal, vice-chairman and managing director of Bhushan Steel, among others. Bhushan is one of the top five players in steel in the country with a turnover of Rs 9,675.83 crore in the last financial year.

“It is alleged that the said public servant was directly negotiating with a private company for an illegal gratification of Rs 50 lakh in lieu of granting credit extension to the said company as it had defaulted on the payment of loan instalments amounting to crores of rupees to the bank,” the CBI said in a statement.

Industry sources could not readily recall any other instance of a public sector bank head being arrested while in office. Syndicate Bank has about 40 branches in Calcutta.

Jain, under CBI surveillance for six months, was arrested in Mumbai after a relative was allegedly caught accepting Rs 50 lakh in cash. The deal was struck by a chartered accountant based in Madhya Pradesh, the agency said.

The FIRs also name the chartered accountant, Pawan Bansal, Jain’s relatives Vineet and Puneet Godha, Purushottam Totlani, who was allegedly handing over the bribe, Ved Prakash Agarwal, the head of Prakash Industries, Vijay Pahuja and Pankaj Bansal.

Bhushan Steel had used the services of Totlani and the money was paid to Vineet Godha, CBI spokesperson Kanchan Prasad said. Like Bhushan, Prakash is a steel company. Both are under the scanner in the coal scam.

The CBI also said it had recovered Rs 21 lakh in cash, gold ornaments worth Rs 1.68 crore and fixed deposit certificates up to Rs 63 lakh from Jain’s residence.

The CBI has also registered a case against former Union minister Prem Chand Gupta, a close aide of Lalu Prasad, and Gupta’s son in the coal scam, PTI reported.


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