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Mumbai: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Thursday filed a case against Axcel Sunshine Ltd (ASL) and Win Wind Oy (WWO), companies controlled by former Aircel promoter C. Sivasankaran, for allegedly defaulting on loans worth Rs600 crore from IDBI Bank.
The case, which involves some of the country’s top bankers, had been referred by the Central vigilance Commission (CVC), CBI said. The agency has registered cases against 39 individuals.
“Searches are on at 50 places across 10 locations in India at Delhi, Mumbai, Faridabad, Gandhi Nagar, Chennai, Bangalore, Belgaum, Hyderabad, Jaipur and Pune,” a person familiar with the development said.
Aircel did not immediately respond to Mint’s emails seeking a response.
The agency also carried out searches at the residences of former senior IDBI Bank officials. In October 2010, IDBI sanctioned a Rs322 crore loan to WWO, which turned sour in October 2013.
“This company is held by Siva Investments and Holdings Ltd, which is a Seychelles-based entity. This is one of the firms of the Siva group of companies whose chairman is C. Sivasankaran,” the person cited above said.
In February 2014, IDBI sanctioned another loan of Rs523 crore to ASL, based in the British Virgin Islands. ASL was part of Siva group and the money was used for repaying loans of other associate companies of the group, including WWO.
“It is clarified that IDBI Bank had given a loan to Axcel Sunshine Ltd in February 2014, which became NPA in December 2015. The loan has been fully provided for. The bank initiated action to recover dues from the borrower in August 2016,” IDBI Bank said in a press release in Mumbai.
“CBI in this context has been examining certain documents relating to the loan given by IDBI Bank and has spoken to the senior officers of the bank who had handled the case. The officers are providing the requisite information and clarification to the investigating authorities,” the release added. “It is a flagrant violation of the regulatory guidelines of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on foreign investments in India. This is a case of fraud on the bank by the executives of the bank and promoters of the group of companies involved to derive wrongful gains and cause loss to the banks to the tune of Rs600 crore,” said a senior CBI official who did not wish to be identified.
Navadha Pandey in Delhi and Gopika Gopakumar in Mumbai contributed to this story.