The CBI has registered an FIR against Visa Power and its then chairman Vishambhar Saran in connection with an alleged bank fraud of Rs 1,964 crore, officials told Press Trust of India on Thursday.
The action of the agency was initiated on a complaint from Punjab National Bank, one of the members of a consortium of 14 lenders which have sanctioned term loans of Rs 1,964 crore. PNB was the lead bank of the consortium and sanctioned loan of Rs 394 crore.
The bank has alleged that the company and accused officials — Saran and directors Vikas Agarwal and Subrato Trivedi, both named in the FIR as accused — had approached the bank seeking loans for developing coal-based thermal power project with a generation capacity of 1,200 MW in Raigarh in Chhattisgarh, they said.
“It has transpired that the accused persons in connivance and in furtherance of criminal conspiracy with each other have caused wrongful gain to themselves and wrongful loss to the banks to the tune of Rs 1,964 crore apart from interest dues from the date of NPA,” according to the FIR.
The project was executed in two phases of 600 MW each and was to be financed through the consortium of lenders.
The account was declared a non-performing asset (NPA) by banks between 2015-16 because the project failed to achieve milestones like a failure of promoters to bring their respective share, expiry of coal linkages, expiry of the power purchase agreement, and delay in environmental clearance, among others.
“It is clear that accused persons hatched a conspiracy against public sector banks with intent to cheat them by diverting and siphoning off money and committed various offences under relevant provisions of the Indian Penal Code,” the complaint from the PNB said.
PNB has already issued a look-out circular against the accused persons, they said.
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