After registering a preliminary enquiry into the role of banks in 2G spectrum scam, the CBI on Wednesday examined documents of some public sector banks which had given loans to some real estate firms by side stepping laid-down procedures.
Highly-placed sources in the agency said documents of some of the banks in Delhi and Mumbai were examined by the sleuths of CBI’s Bank Securities and Fraud Cell and the banks were asked about the files under which the loans were granted to telecom companies, especially Uninor and STel.
Widening its probe into the 2G spectrum allocation scam, the CBI has registered a PE to probe the role of certain public sector banks, including the State Bank of India, for providing loans to certain companies which were allocated the 2G spectrum licences in 2007-08.
Under the PE, which was registered against unnamed bank officials and companies, the CBI can only examine the documents and not seize them.
The allegation is that some banks had violated the laid-down norms and provided finance to the two real estate companies which made forays into the telecom market by procuring the spectrum auctioned during the said period, the sources said.
This is the second PE registered by the CBI in connection with the 2G spectrum scam besides a regular case against unnamed officials of the Department of Telecom and private companies.
According to the PE, the banks sanctioned loans to the tune of Rs. 11,500 crore to the two real estate companies by allegedly ignoring risk factors, given that the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) had already registered a case in the 2G scam and the CBI had begun its probe.
The public sector banks had given Rs. 10,000 crore to Unitech-Telenor consortium and Rs. 1,538 crore to STel, based only on licence papers issued by the Department of Telecom (DoT).
Out of the Rs. 10,000-crore loan to Uninor, a joint venture between Unitech and Telenor of Norway, the State Bank of India sanctioned a loan of Rs. 8,050 crore to the consortium during 2009-2010 out of which the company had picked up Rs. 500 crore so far.
The other banks which gave money to Uninor were South Indian Bank, Corporation Bank, Allahabad Bank, Canara Bank, Oriental Bank, Central Bank of India, Punjab National Bank, Standard Chartered Bank and Yes Bank.
STel got Rs. 1,538—crore loan from IDBI and IDBI Trusteeship Services Limited during the period between July to November 2009.
In December last year, the Supreme Court had come down heavily on public sector banks for their role in the 2G spectrum scam.