In a significant development, a special CBI court has handed down a conviction to the ex-Branch Manager of Bank of Maharashtra and a commission agent for orchestrating a Rs 3.44 crore scam in 2011. The duo faces a three-year imprisonment term and has been ordered to pay fines of Rs 1.25 lakhs each.
Overview of the Case
According to the CBI complaint, Sanjay Sawal, who served as the Branch Manager at Bank of Maharashtra's Girgaon Branch, Mumbai, between October 23, 2006, and October 9, 2009, collaborated in a criminal conspiracy with Romen Patel, a commission agent. This collaboration resulted in a wrongful loss of Rs 3.44 crores to the bank.
The CBI alleged that Patel, during the period from January 14, 2003, to September 15, 2009, opened 12 accounts at Girgaum branch, Mumbai, under various names such as M/s. P. M. Enterprises, M/s. Riddhi Traders, M/s. Mahavir Trading Company, and others. Patel failed to maintain the minimum balance in these accounts, and the CBI claimed he had not repaid overdrafts, siphoning and diverting funds while submitting false loan proposals.
Meanwhile, the CBI contended that Sawal, in violation of bank rules, sanctioned Short Term Loans (STL) of Rs. 25 lakhs each in six accounts of Romen Patel without proper verification or adherence to higher authorities' instructions. The court found that Sawal misused his powers, disregarding directives against granting Time Overdrafts (TOD) and neglecting central office norms.
Legal Proceedings and Evidence
The prosecution presented evidence from around 24 witnesses and hundreds of documents to build a strong case against the accused. The court, after a comprehensive review of the evidence, concluded that the prosecution successfully proved the case, leading to the conviction of the two individuals involved in the bank fraud.