Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Pawan Bansal’s Finance Ministry days: Auditor of firms founded by his kin nominated to Canara Bank board



An auditor of a raft of firms founded by Pawan Kumar Bansal\'s kin was nominated as a government director on the board of state-run Canara Bank in 2007 at a time the embattled railway minister was a junior minister in the finance ministry overseeing banking and financial services.

Documents accessed by ET show that firms controlled by Bansal\'s son Amit and his nephew Vijay Singla, who has been arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation for allegedly accepting a bribe from a senior railway official, had dealings with the bank during the three year period that Sunil Gupta was the non-official part-time director — a post reserved for chartered accountants. Gupta subsequently became a \'shareholder director\' and was appointed to the bank\'s audit committee in 2010, when his term as a government nominee came to an end.

Gupta, who is the auditor of Amit Bansal\'s IVA Heal Care Private Ltd, ISIS Packaging Ltd and Theon Pharmaceuticals Ltd, and Singla\'s Mirage Infra Ltd, Shreeom Commercial Real Estate Private Ltd and Jagan Realtors Private Ltd, is also a director in another company, Bansi Raunaq Energy Ltd, a company owned by the railway minister\'s son.

Canara Bank had sanctioned a loan of around Rs 25 crore to Singla\'s Mirage Infra Ltd, according to the filings made by the company in March 2010 with the Registrar of Companies. The filings also reveal that Mirage has not taken loans from other banks and has a share capital of Rs 5 lakh. It had no significant business activity during the period. The company is currently involved in developing a real estate project in Chandigarh. No Role in Loans to Bansal Kin.

Amit Bansal\'s Theon Pharmaceuticals and ISIS Packaging have collectively taken loans amounting to more than Rs10 crore from the bank. Filings by Theon reveal that Canara Bank was its chief lender in financial year 2008, when the loan was taken by the firm. Similarly, filings made by ISIS Packaging reveal that Canara Bank was its only lender in financial year 2011.

Gupta denied Pawan Bansal had played a role in his appointment to Canara Bank\'s board or that there was any conflict of interest in being an auditor to Bansal family firms and a director of a bank that lent money to them.

\"The banking division had sought applications for the post which were subsequently screened, and the decision was taken on merit. Pawan Bansal did not influence the decision,\" he said. As for the loans, Gupta said, the decisions were taken by the bank\'s local office and did not come to the board. Canara Bank also denied there was anything untoward, with its Chairman & Managing Director RK Dubey saying the bank had followed all due diligence while sanctioning the loan. \"There is nothing wrong with the companies. We have not got any adverse reports,\" he said.

He added that Gupta\'s term on the bank board would end next month and that \"as far as we are concerned, there is nothing amiss\". Gupta also said the Amit Bansal company, on which he is a director, is a \"defunct company\" and therefore there is no impropriety.

News From: http://www.7StarNews.com

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