Business

November 09, 2018

Court acquits nine in allegedly duping SBI of Rs 105 crores


sbi

Recently, a Mumbai court acquitted nine people in a case of allegedly duping the State Bank of India (SBI) of Rs 105 crores. The nine people involved in this case are: Ashwin Mehta (brother of Harshad Mehta who was charged with financial crimes that took place in the 1992 Securities Scam), Rama Sitharaman (officer in-charge of securities division of the SBI), and seven other officials, including Bhushan Raut, C Ravi Kumar, S Suresh Babu, P Muralidharan, Ashok Agarwal, Janardhan Bandhopadhyay, and Shyam Sundar Gupta

Justice Shalini Phansalkar Joshi stated that there was no hesitation in holding that that the prosecution had failed to prove the case beyond reasonable doubt. Notably, Justice Shalini presides over the special court set up for cases related to the 1992 securities scam.

The prosecution noted that bank officials in collusion with the Mehta brothers entered into a conspiracy to cheat SBI Capital Markets (SBI Caps), a wholly owned investment banking subsidiary of SBI, of Rs 105 crores in sale and purchase transactions of securities from 1991 to 1992.

In this regard, the prosecuting agency, i.e., the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), stated that SBI Caps routed all 24 transactions through Harshad Mehta and allegedly suffered a loss and that fund diversion could not have occurred without the knowledge of the accused bank officers.

However, considering defence arguments, the court did not accept the case against the accused officers who were in the securities division as the funds were diverted from the main branch of the bank.

The court thus concluded, "In light of the various gaps and missing links left open by the prosecution, may be on account of death of Harshad Mehta and the discharge of many accused in the case from time to time, the fact remains that the charge of conspiracy could not be proved."

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