Hyderabad: Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has booked YSRCP rebel MP Kanumuru Raghu Rama Krishna Raju, his wife, and 9 others in an alleged Rs 826.17 crore bank fraud case.

The investigating agency acted upon a complaint filed by Punjab National Bank against IND-Barath Thermal Power limited company for siphoning off loan amount approved for a power plant.

On October 7, CBI sleuths carried out searches at 11 locations in Mumbai and Hyderabad. CBI also raided the headquarters of the company at Secunderabad.

According to CBI, IND-Barath through its directors approached a chain of corporate banks for financial assistance. Around Rs 941.80 Crore debt was sanctioned in the company’s favor for setting up a 300 MW coal-based group captive power plant at Honkan Village in Karnataka. However, the project could not take off because there was no environmental clearance. Therefore, it was shifted to Tamil Nadu.

However, the lending banks found persistent irregularities in the accounts of the directors. They were verbally informed but no response was received.

Investigations revealed that during 2014-15 and 2015-16 the company purchased 14,70,861 metric tons of coal amounting to Rs 516.20 Crore. The purchase was through 31 consignments.

An independent forensic audit in 2019 found large scale fraud. “A visit to the thermal power plant in 2019 found that no coal has been laid at the plant and only a small quantity of material which appears to be inglike fly ash was laying, of quantity 16000 metric tons. No receipt of purchase was found at the office in Tamil Nadu. The management however explained that the coal was destroyed by termites” CBI said.

Investigators found that the company purchased coal for Rs 516.20 Crore. Of which, 5,26,846 metric tons of coal worth Rs 187.39 crore was not transported from the port to the factory premises. Instead, it was ferried to IND-Bharath Power Gencom limited located near the plant.

The forensic audit report concluded that there are several contradictions between the records maintained by the company with no substantial evidence regarding the usage and movement of coal. Material worth Rs 243.08 crore is doubtful.

The CBI concluded that the company cheated banks of Rs 826.17 crore. The funds were diverted by committing fraud against the banks.

A case under 120-B and 420 of Indian Penal Code has been registered against IND-Bharath directors — Kanumuru Raju Raghu Rama Krishna and his wife K Rama Devi and Kotagiri Indira Priyadarshini. Additional directors – Gopalan Manohan, Boppana Sowjanya, and Narayana Prasad Bhagavathula, Managing director Sitaramam Komaragiri and four others have also been booked.

It is pertinent to note that the case was booked days after the officials of Punjab National Bank (PNB) met Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy during his Delhi tour.

Coreena Suares

Coreena Enet Suares is the Editor of NewsMeter. Her stories have been published in the Deccan Chronicle Newspaper and the Asian Age. Coreena began her career as a News Anchor. Throughout her journey, she has been able to build a strong network with people from all walks of life. She is an alumnus of Edward R. Murrow Program for Journalists- Research and Investigation, a flagship initiative of the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP)

Coreena is also a certified fact-checker by Google India Initiative. She has attended the 'Defence Correspondents Course 2019, through which she visited Indo- Pak border, besides traveling on a War-ship and insight into operations of Fighter aircraft. Coreena's focus areas are anti-crime investigation agencies and Defence reporting.

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