Rs 100 crore meant for midday meal transferred to private builder in Jharkhand

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Officials in Jharkhand say that Rs. 100 crore from a state government account for the midday meal programme in State Bank of India was transferred to a private builder. The CBI has reportedly registered a case and launched investigation.

midday meal
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The federal probe agency, according to a report by PTI, has also carried out searches at the official premises of the accused and the company Bhanu Construction in Ranchi.

An FIR has been registered against the company, its partners Sanjay Kumar Tiwari and Suresh Kumar and Ajay Oraon, former deputy manager of the bank’s Hatia branch. Oraon has also been suspended now.

The FIR, registered on the complaint of a State Bank of India officer, alleged that a deputy manager (Business Development Department) of the bank “dishonestly and by abusing his official position” transferred over Rs. 100 crore from the account of “Rajya Madhyan Bhojan Pradhikaran” to Bhanu Construction.

“On August 05, 2017, State Bank of India, Hatia Branch received six debit advices from the…Government of Jharkhand for transfer of Rs. 120.31 crore from their Saving Bank Account to multiple accounts maintained with different banks including State Bank of India,” PTI quoted the FIR.

Rs. 20.29 crore was to be transferred to State Bank of India and Rs. 100.01 crore was to be transferred to other bank accounts, the FIR said.

For bulk transfer through real time gross settlement and national electronic fund transfer (RTGS/NEFT), Rs. 100.01 crore was debited from the account of Jharkhand Rajya Madhyan Bhojan Pradhikaran and was temporarily parked in office/suspense account of the branch for processing of the transfer to various accounts.

“Due to failure in uploading, the entire amount of Rs. 100.01 crore got returned to the office and suspense account of the Branch,” it said.

Instead of crediting back Rs. 100.01 crore to the account of Jharkhand Rajya Madhyan Bhojan Pradhikaran from office account, it alleged that then deputy manager Oraon transferred the amount to the current account of Bhanu Construction.

Mr Tiwari and Mr Kumar dishonestly transferred the amount to their various accounts. It was utilised and misappropriated by keeping it as a liquid security or margin for the credit facility extended to them by Axis Bank Ltd, HDFC Bank, SREI Equipment Finance Ltd and Cholamandalam Investment and Finance Company Ltd, the FIR alleged.

According to the FIR, the SBI managed to recover Rs. 76.29 crore on November 20, 2017 from various accounts with different banks but Rs. 23.28 crore could not recovered, “resulting in loss to the bank and corresponding gain for Bhanu Construction”.

The agency has booked the accused under charges of criminal conspiracy, cheating and under provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

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