Another Rs 1,394 cr bank fraud, CBI now books Hyderabad firm

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Hyderabad, March 23: Yet another bank fraud has come to light, with the CBI filing a case against Hyderabad-based Totem Infrastructure Ltd (TIL)for allegedly defrauding a consortium of eight banks led by Union Bank of India (UBI) to the tune of Rs 1,394 crore.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) issued lookout circulars against TIL’s promoters and directors — Tottempudi Salalith and his wife Tottempudi Kavitha — whose whereabouts were reportedly not known. Salalith is also director in 10 other private firms dealing in road construction.

A CBI team also carried out raids here at two places after filing the FIR against the firm, its promoters and directors and other unidentified public servants. The raids were conducted at the residential and office premises of the firm and accused persons.

The CBI on Thursday filed the case on the basis of a complaint filed by UBI’s Industrial Finance Branch (Hyderabad) which alleged to be cheated Rs 313.84 crore by the firm.

State Bank of India, which tops the list with Rs 357.64 crore of loans, is followed by UBI (Rs 313.84 crore), Bank of Baroda (Rs 208.67 crore), IDBI (Rs 174.47 crore), Punjab National Bank (Rs 126.30 crore), Oriental Bank of Commerce (Rs 79.96), JM Financial Asset (Rs 69.07 crore) and Syndicate Bank (Rs 64.48 crore).

“Loan was taken from a consortium of eight banks including UBI which was the lead bank. Total dues outstanding for the consortium is Rs 1,394.43 crore. This account became NPA on June 30, 2012 after default of payments of interests and instalments,” a CBI official said.

In its complaint, the UBI cited that TIL, based at Banjara Hills, obtained the loans for the business of EPC contractor which is engaged in road projects, water works, building structures and also undertook works as a sub contractor to various companies namely IRCON, RITES, Maytas Infra Pvt Ltd, L&T and TATA projects.

TIL is taking loans with our bank since November 2005 when it was sanctioned credit facilities of Rs 15 crore to complete the work orders in construction and infrastructure activities, the UBI complaint said.

“The sanction limits were periodically reviewed at outstanding level by our banks at the request of TIL.”

The firm is also accused of diverting the funds by opening accounts outside the consortium and through payments of wages by showing excess expenditure and huge stocks, said the CBI official.

“The entire sale proceeds were not allegedly routed through the dealing branches of consortium banks.”

In its complaint, the UBI had said the borrowers are absconding and their present whereabouts were not known.

On Wednesday, the CBI filed a case against a Chennai-based jeweller, Kanishk Gold Pvt Ltd, for defrauding a consortium of 14 banks led by the State Bank of India to the tune of Rs 824.15 crore in the form of loans that have now been declared as non-performing asset (NPA).