CBI Probe May Widen to More Banks
Around two dozen banks under scanner for alleged irregularities in loans to Kingfisher Airlines
New Delhi: The Central Bureau of Investigation’s probe into the loan default by Vijay Mallya’s now grounded Kingfisher Airlines may extend from IDBI Bank to about two dozen lenders over alleged irregularities in grant of funds to the beleaguered company.
IDBI Bank has not been singled out for investigating the role of bank executives for possible failure to conduct due diligence before approving loans, a senior CBI official told ET. “Loans granted by other banks, nearly 23 of them including private banks, to KFA, will come under the radar,” the official said on condition of anonymity. A CBI court had last week issued a non-bailable warrant against Mallya in the ₹ 720 crore IDBI Bank loan de- fault case as the agency sought his extradition from the UK. The defunct airline owes nearly ₹ 7,000 crore to various lenders. “The IDBI case was investigated into and a complaint was filed suo motu by CBI against the bank after several irregularities were discovered,” the official said.
Earlier this week, the defence counsels for Kingfisher Airlines and IDBI officials contended in a Mumbai court that IDBI Bank had been “singled out” by the investigating agency.
The counsels were arguing to secure bail for the accused arrested by the CBI. They referred to the consortium of banks, led by the State Bank of India (SBI), and loans given by various banks to the airline. The CBI had registered a case against Mallya in August last year on SBI’s complaint for alleged irregularities in repayment of ₹ 1,600 crore loan taken from the bank. The charge sheet filed by the CBI in the IDBI loan default case said that “financials of the company were weak even at the time of appraisal by SBI”.
“The charge of cheating has to be established keeping in view the role played by the officials,” a senior CBI official said. “We are already probing the complaint filed by the SBI against Mallya.”
Kingfisher Airlines had taken a loan of ₹ 6,900 crore from a consortium of 17 lenders in early 2010 after a second round of debt restructuring.