Officers of the United Bank of India posted in Lucknow have played a key role in the credit allocation scam. Many irregularities have been done in credit allocation in Lucknow too. In distributing the largesse of credit to bankrupt industrial establishments, scamster companies and bogus firms, the name of the United Bank of India is at the top. After being unsuccessful in recovery of loans from companies who have made-off after taking loans or from firms who declared themselves bankrupt after taking loans, the United Bank of India has made it a habit of kow-towing before them. Here is an exclusive report…
Central intelligence agencies have started an investigation against the United Bank of India, which gave loans of billions of rupees to entities ranging from firms connected to the Saradha chit fund scam to bogus aviation companies and did not hesitate to even mortgage Government land. The CBI has interrogated of some top officials at the Kolkata headquarters of the United Bank of India. Rattled by this, the bank management has issued charge sheets against more than 2 dozen top officers and has transferred them. But in this action too there is deception. This has been done to save officers involved in the loan allocation scam. And by doing this, high officers of the management have saved themselves. Officers of the United Bank of India posted in Lucknow have played a key role in the credit allocation scam. Many irregularities have been done in credit allocation in Lucknow too. In distributing the largesse of credit to bankrupt industrial establishments, scamster companies and bogus firms, the name of the United Bank of India is at the top. After being unsuccessful in recovery of loans from companies who have made-off after taking loans or from firms who declared themselves bankrupt after taking loans, the United Bank of India has made it a habit of kow-towing before them. Because of bad loans, the non-performing assets (NPA) of the United Bank of India have increased so much that they have gone much above the entire budget of even Uttar Pradesh. Burdened under the weight of the loan scam, the danger is increasing for the United Bank of India.
Giving loans in the name of buying a helicopter(s) is like a hobby for the United Bank of India. Be it Lucknow or Kolkata, submit an application for a loan to buy a helicopter and the loan is immediately available. Then the person/company/firm who has taken the loan absconds very easily. The bank is happy and you too are happy. The CMD (Chairman cum Managing Director) and CRM (Chief Regional Manager) of the bank, become happy as soon as a loan is granted. Even after a loan taker absconds or defaults, the bank doesn’t put that loan in the non-performing assets or go to a tribunal for a long time. The voluntary retirement of Archana Bhargava, former CMD of the United Bank of India was pre planned and the top management of the bank and the former Government’s top lobby had consented to it. The prime reason behind her voluntary retirement were an increasing number of loans without recovery. By the end of December 2013, UBI’s NPA was a record 8,546 crore rupees. Which were these loans without recovery? Why was recovery not done? Or were some loans cleverly stopped from being entered in the Non-Performing Assets account? Were these the reasons for Archana Bhargava suddenly disappearing from the scene? The Government at that time was of the Congress and leaders of the Congress too were directly and indirectly obliged, hence investigation was done by the CBI only of various decisions taken by Archana Bhargava in different banks or of accounts of UBI. Otherwise the secrets of such loans would have spilled out, which were distributed in a light hearted manner to many people like Vijay Mallya or Robert Vadra or Pawan Bansal or Saradha chit fund company’s Sudipto Sen or Subroto Roy of Sahara.
First lets look at some of the acts of the officers of the United Bank of India in Lucknow. According to master data of Lucknow’s Hind Infra Citi Private Limited named company, its address is 194/18/4, Lakshman Prasad Road, Lucknow. Syed Rais Haider and Rana Rizvi are directors of this company. In this, Rana Rizvi’s address is written as the same as the company’s and Rais Haider’s address is stated to be Hundrahi, Gangauli, district Ghazipur, U.P. The paid up capital of this company is 8 lakh rupees. To a company with a paid up capital of only 8 lakh rupees, the United Bank of India gave a loan of 100 crore rupees. The company defaulted after taking the loan. There was such rush to approve this loan that UBI Lucknow’s former Chief Regional Manager, Vinod Babbar, accepting the application at the regional level, sent it to headquarters and in spite of objection from the Bank’s board, Archana Bhargava, Chairman cum Managing Director, put the stamp of approval. The bank management has issued only a charge sheet against Vinod Babbar and transferred him to Hooghly in West Bengal, but with a promotion as Deputy General Manager(DGM).
Anyway, UBI sources said that reason for Hind Infra taking a loan was for buying a helicopter. For official confirmation this correspondent called Vinod Babbar. As soon as he heard the question about the loan to Hind Infra City Private limited, he said, I am not authorised to talk to the media. You talk about this with headquarters. But you sanctioned the loan, then why was negligence shown in its recovery? This question too he tried to divert to Kolkata headquarters, but said at least that this has now become an old story. He was asked: how did a loan sanctioned in the past year or two become an old story and proceedings of loan recovery didn’t happen either, so why was it not put in the NPA account? At being asked this question, Babbar suddenly remembered a meeting. He said, I am in an important meeting, will not be able to talk now. And he disconnected the phone. Now even Babbar has been promoted and he has been transferred as well. When officers of the bank management saw their necks on the line, then for recovery of that loan, the bank management has taken refuge of the tribunal.
Due to such acts of the United Bank of India a big business establishment of Uttar Pradesh defaulted after taking a loan of crores of rupees. The reason of absconding/defaulting remained negligence of the bank in the loan recovery. Obliged to business establishments, officers of the bank sanction loans and when their job is put in danger, then they go into action mode for outstanding amounts. The same thing happened with Varun Industries of Agra. At last, the Agra police had to register a case against 2 promoters and one director of a big stainless steel exporter of the country — Varun Industries. The Chief Judicial Magistrate’s ( CJM’s ) court in Agra issued a warrant against the promoters of Varun Industries — Kiran Mehta, Kailash Aggrawal and director Varun Mehta. Varun Industries had taken a loan of 70 crore rupees from S.E Investment finance company. Along with the United Bank of India and 10 nationalised banks, Varun Industries had taken a loan of 2000 crore rupees. A consortium of these banks has registered a case against Varun Industries for recovery. The consortium of banks includes United Bank of India, Indian Bank, UCO Bank, Central Bank, Syndicate Bank, State Bank, Bank of India, Bank of Baroda, IDBI Bank and Allahabad Bank.
But the biggest irony is that no action is taken against top bank officials who, influenced by various means, distribute the largesse of loans and upon getting entangled pose in surrender before the tribunal. Due to bad loans distributed by the nationalised banks of the country, 10 trillion 44 billion rupees have become outstanding.
These matters are pending with the Debt Recovery Tribunal (DRT) for recovery. You can well understand how long it will take for recovery of such a huge amount of money and also, whether any recovery will be done at all, there are doubts on this too.
In the meantime, former CMD Archana Bhargava or the present Executive Director Deepak Narang’s names are not included in the charge sheet filed against 27 top officers of the United Bank of India. On the issue of charge sheets too the bank management has adopted double standards — giving some top officers promotions and transferring them, and slaughtering some officers as scapegoats. No action was taken against a bank officer running his own petrol pump in a district near Lucknow. Withdrawing 5 lakh rupees from the bank to buy Banarsi sarees as gifts for a prominent woman personality – that was Officer Vinod Babbar, who was given a promotion and sent to Hooghly. But the question remains : sarees worth 5 lakh rupees were after all gifted to which personality? On this too the bank management is silent. In spite of an audio CD asking for a 50 lakh rupees bribe from Rajesh Exporters for a loan of 50 crore rupees being given to the bank management no action was taken against Archana Bhargava. Be it former CMD Nadukar who gave crores of rupees as loan to prominent business establishment Lanco against Wakf’s land or Vinod Narang who gave a loan of crores of rupees to Vijay Mallya for Kingfisher, the bank management doesn’t take any action against them, whereas it is due to such frauds that the bank has suffered a loss of billions of rupees. Similarly by giving a loan to a so called aviation company of Kolkata, the bank has lost thousands of crores of rupees, but the bank management is silent on this. The United Bank of India gave a loan of more than 100 crore rupees to the above aviation company for buying 3 helicopters, whereas there is no record of that aviation company on the ground. And after all this, in spite of a loss of thousands of crore of rupees, the bank management has not taken any action against the guilty officers.
Like Kingfisher, the possibilities of Spice Jet Aviation Company closing down are becoming stronger. If Spice Jet also sinks, then a loan of about 500 crore rupees given by the United Bank of India will also be lost. This correspondent sent to the Executive Director of the bank, Deepak Narang, some written questions related to the factious loans given by the bank, but he didn’t answer the questions.
The Executive Director of the United Bank of India, Deepak Narang, was asked whether in any branch of the United Bank of India there is an account of a company named Royal Aviation or Air Royal Aviation and if there is, then is this account a stressed account or has it been declared an NPA? Is MP K D Singh of the Trinamool Congress the owner of any of these firms? Why has the CBI interrogated some officers of United Bank of India? The loans which the bank has given against Government lands, what steps have been taken for their recovery or are being taken? The Executive Director of United Bank of India, Deepak Narang, listened to these questions calmly, but in response said, ‘I am not aware’. It is an irony that he doesn’t know anything. It is notable that be it the Hind Infratech Company of Lucknow or Kolkata’s Aviation company to which the United Bank of India gave loans of thousands of crore rupees in the name of buying helicopters, the companies defaulted after taking the loans. Similarly, being in charge of the bank, Deepak Narang, gave loans wildly to Kingfisher and in a well planned manner, the owner of Kingfisher, Vijay Mallya, didn’t return the loan money to the bank. Examples of loans given to Lanco and many other firms are before us, in which loans of crores of rupees were taken after mortgaging Government land and the bank failed to recover even those loans. In distributing the largesse of these kind of loans, the officers of the bank themselves remained involved and later on, in a well planned manner declared the firms taking loans as bankrupt, wilful defaulters or absconders. In this way, the bank officers remained and remain safe and the bank has to suffer all the loss. In Delhi too, due to such collusion, a loan scam of the United Bank of India of 800 crore rupees has been exposed recently.
Due to bad or intentionally made bad loans the very existence of the bank was in danger and as a ‘saving measure’ the Chairman cum Managing Director of the bank, Archana Bhargava, took voluntary retirement and walked away. In the Delhi loan scam too, the same methodology had been adopted which was adopted in Lucknow or Kolkata. In Delhi an 800 crore rupees line of credit was approved for around 150 accounts and without checking the assets of the account holders their bills were discounted. In one branch alone in Delhi, approximately 300 crore rupees of loans were found outstanding against these accounts. In this way loans of 800 crore rupees were distributed without investigating the economic reality of the firms. The United Bank of India is the first bank to announce Vijay Mallya of Kingfisher Airlines and three other directors as wilful loan defaulters. So because the multi crore rupees loan given to Kingfisher Airlines is in itself a scam, if an unbiased investigation is carried out, then maybe United Bank of India will have to close down.
The name of the United Bank of India also figures in the Saradha chit fund scam of West Bengal. The bank has given crores of rupees as loans to the Saradha company. There is talk that the company to which loans by the bank were given in the name of buying helicopters is also linked to the Saradha chit fund matter. It is also being said that planes of that particular aviation company were used by Mamata Banerjee during election campaigns. Incidentally, Mamata Banerjee’s name is already linked to the use of chartered planes of a company named Alchemist. In turn, news of Alchemist being linked to Saradha chit fund is also there. The owner of the Alchemist Company is K D Singh, who is also a Trinamool Congress MP. Whether there are any strings attached or not between the Alchemist Company and the United Bank of India is upto the investigating agencies to find out. In the mean time, in the branch of the United Bank of India located in Salt Lake at Kolkata, 13 lockers of the owner of the Saradha chit fund company were opened in the night at 2:30, but on whose orders — this mystery is unsolved till date. However, the people who keep information, they know the mystery behind the opening of the lockers late at night…
A DUBIOUS CLOSE RELATIONSHIP
A company of the Sahara group, Sahara Finance, has also been doing the business of call money and notice money through the United Bank of India. In the business of call money, transactions of thousands of crores of rupees are done in one day itself. Lets get an idea of the process of the business of call money. The money market primarily makes easy the process of loaning money and taking loans between banks and organisations like the Primary Dealers (PDs). Bank and PDs, to overcome funds imbalance either overnight or for a short period take or give loans. This loan taking and giving is on a non-secured basis. To give or take funds on loan for one day is called call money. When money is taken or loaned for 2-14 days, then it is called notice money. To give or take funds on loan for more than 14 days is called term money. Sahara Finance through United Bank of India has been doing the big business of call money. Sources of UBI itself say that the Chief of Sahara Group, Subroto Roy’s brother-in Law Ashok Roy Chaudhary has been an employee of UBI, that is why there is so much closeness with Sahara. The Chairman cum Managing Director of UBI, Archana Bhargava, who took voluntary retirement and disappeared from the scene on seeing herself being caught in a loan scam, has also had sweet relations with the Sahara management. It is due to this close relationship that UBI’s top officers in their bio-data’s make special mention of working for Sahara.