Mumbai: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) said on Friday it was probing 21 companies for possible links to a bribes-for-loans scandal that has hit bank shares and hurt the country’s image as an investment destination.
The scandal, in which eight financial executives have been arrested, is one of several to dog the government of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, putting to test the ability of one of the world’s fastest growing emerging economies to crack down on corruption.
Here are some facts about the companies allegedly involved in the bribery scandal:
Company Officials Arrested For Taking Bribes
State-run Life Insurance Corp of India, the country’s largest life insurer -- investment secretary Naresh Chopra.
LIC Housing Finance , a mortgage lender and unit of Life Insurance Corp, with a market cap of about $2 billion -- chief executive RR Nair.
State-run Punjab National Bank , which has a market value of $8 billion - deputy general manager Venkoba Gujjal.
State-run Central Bank of India , which has a market value of $2 billion - director Maninder Singh Johar.
State-run Bank of India , which has a market value of nearly $5 billion - general manager RN Tayal.
The five executives were arrested on 24 November, taken to court and ordered to remain in detention until 29 November. They have not commented on the charges.
The companies have all denied wrongdoing. They said the incidents were of an individual nature but added that they would review internal processes.
Company Charged With Acting As Middleman
Money Matters • A private financial services firm whose CEO Rajesh Sharma, and associates Sanjay Sharma and Suresh Gattani have been arrested. The company last month said it had raised about $100 million by selling shares to institutional investors including Fidelity, Morgan Stanley, and the US-based Wellington.
Key Companies Named By CBI And Media In Scam
Suzlon Energy • The world’s third-largest wind turbine maker behind Denmark’s Vestas and Spain’s Gamesa with a market cap of $1.8 billion.
DB Realty • Real estate firm which raised $325 million through an initial public offering in February this year. Market cap of $1.3 billion.
Religare Enterprises • Financial services group, owned by billionaire brothers Malvinder Mohan Singh and Shivinder Mohan Singh. It has a market value of $1.5 billion.
Oberoi Realty • Real estate firm with a market value of about $2 billion. Market cap of $1.9 billion.
JSW Power • An arm of diversified JSW Group that has business interest in steel, energy and infrastructure.
Jaiprakash Associates • India’s biggest builder of dams and a maker of cement and homes that has a market value of $5.4 billion.
Jaiprakash Power • Hydro-electric plants operating arm of diversified firm Jaiprakash Associates with a market cap of $2.43 billion.
BGR Refinery • Energy equipment supplier that has a market value of $1 billion.
Reaction From Companies
Punjab National Bank • “This is an isolated case of bribery which has no larger impact on the bank’s portfolio because the executive who was implicated had very limited powers to sanction loans,” KR Kamath, chairman told Reuters.
Bank of India • The account of BGR Energy is conducted satisfactorily. The Bank has a proper structure for sanctioning loans, which is duly observed and the asset quality continues to be good.
Central bank of India • “We will be reviewing our systems,” S. Sridhar, chairman and managing director of Central Bank of India, told local media. “We are always looking to make changes whether with respect to customers or technology.”
Suzlon • Suzlon said in a statement that Money Matters was a financial adviser to a loan raising exercise in 2009 that has since concluded and said it was confident that the transaction was in complete compliance with all regulatory and legal norms.
LIC • “As far as balance sheet is concerned, asset quality is concerned, there is no concern at all. As far as company is concerned there is no concern,” chairman TS Vijayan said, referring to its housing unit.
Lavasa • It said Money Matters acted as agent for Lavasa, selling properties on a fee-based arrangement. “All our transactions are completely transparent and all transactions have been made through cheque payments,” it said.
DB Realty • DB Realty managing director Shahid Balwa told Reuters the company had given one investment banking assignment to Money Matters and had made cheque payments for the assignment. “We have no involvement of any kind in this,” Balwa said.
Religare • “There is no investigation against us pertaining to this entire matter,” it said.
Jaiprakash Power • “Jaiprakash Power Ventures had syndicated a loan of 90 billion rupees, out of which only a 16 billion rupee-loan was arranged with partial assistance from Money Matters ,” chairman Manoj Gaur said, adding that the loan was for projects, which are now in operation.