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528 bank frauds in Punjab, HC told

A total of 528 cases of fraud have rattled public sector banks in Punjab. A general manager of the country’s largest lender, the State Bank of India, has told the Punjab and Haryana High Court that 528 cases regarding fraud committed against the banks were pending, including 306 FIRs and 216 complaint cases.

The information, indicating that Punjab banks were not isolated from financial losses due to scams, comes amid reports that more than Rs 71,500 crore was involved in bank frauds across the country in 2018-19.

Justice Mahabir Singh Sindhu was also told that FIRs were yet to be registered in no less than six cases. The details, provided through bank counsel Abhinav Gupta, prompted Justice Sindhu to observe “the situation seems to be quite serious”.
As the case came up for hearing, Gupta placed before the Bench affidavit of Chief General Manager, State Bank of India, Chandigarh, Rana Ashutosh Kumar Singh. Taking cognisance of the gravity of the issue involved after going through the affidavit, Justice Sindhu also directed General Manager, Network-I, Punjab, State Bank of India, to file another affidavit on the cases pending against defaulters as well. Directions were issued for disclosure of “the total amount involved in all the cases, fraud plus defaulters”. The Bench set November first week as the deadline for furnishing details.

The directions came on petitions filed by Kulwinder Kaur and another petitioner against the state government and another respondent. They were seeking grant of anticipatory bail in a cheating, criminal conspiracy and forgery case registered in December last year at Fatehgarh Sahib.

Their counsel told the Bench that their land already stood mortgaged with the bank and the entire revenue record was available with its officials at the time of sanctioning of the loan. Gupta, on the bank’s behalf, argued that the other petitioner had defrauded the bank.