New Delhi: A complaint filed by a sweeper employed by the Bhopal Municipal Corporation is likely to shed light on a bribery racket allegedly involving a few senior officials of a prominent nationalized bank that has allegedly been taking place for years now in the Bhopal circle, including including the two states of Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. Such claims are denied by relatives of the bank.
The sweeper was reportedly forced to pay a bribe of Rs 80,000 in order to obtain a personal loan of Rs 4.30 lakh from a branch of the State Bank of India (SBI) in Bhopal. This whole exercise was carried out with the link between private intermediaries and a few senior banking officials who are the final authority in sanctioning loans. Banks have seen stricter measures implemented in the wake of the Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi scams. This added to the possibility that senior executives, including those at the levels of Chief Executive Officer (CGM), Deputy Managing Director (DGM) and Managing Director, are aware of such a link but choose not to take any action. is the fact that over nine months ago the SBI formed an investigative team to investigate similar corruption allegations statewide. The Sunday Guardian accessed the order form recommending the formation of said 16-member team, which was done on December 10, 2020 by order of SBI’s head office in Mumbai. He was asked to submit his report, in accordance with the decree, before December 19, 2020.
However, to date, the SBI has taken no action against employees who have been found to be involved in disbursing loans to eligible individuals by allegedly taking a bribe or accepting a bribe. -vin for the disbursement of loans to eligible applicants, who are mostly people belonging to the economically weaker sections who take loans for medical emergencies, children’s study or the girl’s marriage.
Even more surprisingly, one of the intermediaries, despite the investigation report naming him as one of the most prominent players in the whole link, was allowed to set up an SBI customer service point in Bhopal to facilitate customers to the bank in June 2021, just six months after the investigative team named him in the report. The Sunday Guardian has a copy of the said agreement.
Some of the confidential findings of this investigative team, covering several branches of Bhopal, to which the Sunday Guardian had access, show that the investigation found that bank officials and intermediaries were taking commissions ranging from 10 to 25%. for sanctioning personal loans by accepting fabricated payslips, ignoring existing debts and granting loans to people who had bad CIBIL records and therefore were not eligible for loans. Interestingly, the team was not asked to investigate the ongoing transactions at the Habibganj branch where the loan from Rajaram, the sweeper, was sanctioned. The investigation further revealed that during the period that this team was asked to investigate these irregularity complaints, two intermediaries and a company owned by them saw at least Rs 1.56 crore credited to their account. in installments, which was done immediately after the loan was credited to customers’ accounts. These loans were sanctioned by the bank’s posh branch in Area Hills. One of the intermediaries who was named in the report is the same person who was named in the complaint filed by Rajaram.
The investigation report had also indicated that in all cases, a cash withdrawal was made immediately after the sanction of the loan, allegedly to pay the commission to the intermediary. In almost all cases, the existing IMEs, which should be taken into consideration when determining the loan amount, have been ignored. Likewise, in the majority of these cases, the proof of address and the pay slip provided were found to be falsified.
According to bank officials, this shows how deeply entrenched the loan mafia is in the PSU banking system in Madhya Pradesh. “The portion of commission that goes to bank employees is higher than what these intermediaries and the credit mafia take. If the loan mafia received 1.56 crore rupees in commission, one can imagine how much the officials of the bank, who are part of such a link, must have gotten in bribes, ”said a senior official. responsible for the bank.
“A loan disbursement goes through several processes and is only made after receiving the sanction of senior officials at the AGA, GM, DGM and CGM level depending on the amount of the loan. It is therefore wrong to place the blame solely on the branch managers for such acts, ”a retired bank official told the Sunday Guardian.
In accordance with the bank’s policies, each branch manager is assigned a target which must be achieved by sanctioning loans to clients. Senior officers, under whose command branches are distributed, are then rewarded with praise and lucrative positions once these goals are met.
The Sunday Guardian sent a detailed questionnaire to the Chairman of the SBI, the Chief Vigilance Officer, SBI and the Chief General Manager (CGM), circle of Bhopal, and the vigilance officer of the circle of Bhopal, requesting their response on this mafia of the loan involving a few SBI agents. No response has been received until the story goes to press.
The sweeper, Rajaram, 50, who had to pay Rs 80,000 as a bribe to the middleman, earns Rs 17,000 as a monthly salary. He had applied for the personal loan to marry his daughter off last year, but after the SBI refused, he took it out from a private lender at an inflated interest rate. To repay the debt to the pawnshop, he easily accepted the SBI loan that the intermediary agreed to arrange.
Rajaram wrote two complaints, on September 6 and September 14, to SBI Director Dinesh Kumar Kharra, outside the Ministry of Finance and the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), detailing the entire incident and how he was taken to inside the Habibganj branch in Bhopal. from the SBI at 8 p.m. on August 4 through the intermediary where he met the agency director. After that, his loan was sanctioned on August 7. The amount of the commission was transferred to the intermediary’s account as soon as it was disbursed by the bank. After his first complaint on September 6, he started receiving calls from the middleman and his friends and senior bank officials, asking him to end the case and get the bribe money back. wine. This prompted him to write a second letter to the SBI chair detailing the conversation and who was calling him. The Sunday Guardian has had access to details of some of these calls in which individuals introduced themselves as senior bank executives and asked it to collect the bribe money and come and meet with them so that the problem can be fixed.
Rajaram, speaking to the Sunday Guardian, confirmed that he wrote the letters. “I had applied for a personal loan at the beginning of this year. However, officials at the SBI agency, where my salary account is located, refused to grant me a loan, stating that I had a bad CIBIL score. However, 3-4 months ago I got a call from someone asking if I still needed the loan. If so, then he could fix it. He called me to meet him at his office. When I went there, all of my documents like pay slips, Aadhaar card, and PAN details were with him. He said he would arrange the loan within 72 hours, for which I would have to pay him money (Rs 80,000). Over time, he took me inside several agencies (including the Udayachal agency, which is located in the same premises of the local SBI headquarters where the CGM and other senior staff work. officials) where he was welcomed by all agency directors. and the staff very warmly. He later took me to the Habibganj branch at 5 p.m. I stayed until 8 p.m. and met the branch manager. My loan was then sanctioned. The Rs 80,000 bribe was paid from my loan account that day. It’s all there on the disk. The CCTV footage from the banks will also confirm what I said, ”he told the Sunday Guardian.