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CBI Starts Inquiry into Alleged Loan Fraud Involving Visa Power and its Ex-Chairman

Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has registered a case against Visa Power and its former chairman Vishambhar Saran in connection with an alleged bank loan fraud of Rs 1,964 crore.

A complaint in this respect was received by the CBI from Punjab National Bank (PNB). According to complaint lodged the PNB, it was heading the consortium of banks which gave loans to the accused firm.

The bank’s complaint claims that the company and the accused officials, namely Saran, as well as directors Vikas Agarwal and Subrato Trivedi (both mentioned as accused in the FIR), had requested loans from the bank. The purpose of the loans was to fund the development of a 1,200 MW coal-based thermal power project in Raigarh, Chhattisgarh.

Investigations have revealed that the accused individuals collaborated as part of a criminal conspiracy, resulting in financial benefits of Rs 1,964 crore for themselves. Simultaneously, this conspiracy led to significant losses for the banks.

Additionally, the FIR states that interest dues have accrued since the date the account was classified as a Non-Performing Asset (NPA).

The project was carried out in two stages, with each phase having a capacity of 600 MW. Funding for the project was intended to be provided by a group of lenders working together.

However, banks classified the project’s account as a non-performing asset (NPA) during 2015-16. This decision was made due to various factors including the project’s inability to meet certain milestones. These included the failure of promoters to contribute their designated share, the expiration of coal linkages and power purchase agreements, and delays in obtaining environmental clearance, among other challenges.

The CBI has now lodged an FIR and are looking into the matter.

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