Delhi court acquits 9 accused in bank fraud case, citing ‘haphazard’ CBI probe

Delhi court acquits 9 accused in bank fraud case, citing 'haphazard' CBI probe

The case was registered in 2011 and the trial began in 2015.

New Delhi:

A Delhi court has acquitted nine people, including a company and four bank officials, in a nine-year-old case related to an alleged fraud of Rs 4.8 crore against Canara Bank. The case was registered in 2011 and the trial began in 2015.

Special Judge Hasan Anzar of the Rouse Avenue Court acquitted Harpreet Fashion Pvt. Ltd, Mohanjit Singh Mutneja, Gunjit Singh Mutneja, Harpreet Kaur Mutneja, Harmendra Singh, Raman Kumar Agarwal, Darwan Singh Mehta, TG Purshottam and CT Ramkumar, criticize the Central Bureau of Investigation for the “informal” nature of the investigation.

She noted that the prosecutor’s office was unable to substantiate the charges against public officials or prove any conspiracy between the public officials and the private defendant.

The CBI alleged that four separate criminal conspiracies were organized between 2003 and 2007 to defraud the bank. She alleged that funds through 47 checks were diverted to five sister companies of Harpreet Fashion that received loans from the bank.

The court, however, noted that merely issuing checks to sister concerns does not constitute a crime unless the prosecution provides clear evidence of diversion of funds and improper end-use.

“The defendant’s mere issuing of checks to its sister concern would not make much of a difference unless the prosecution explains the diversion of funds with compelling evidence,” he said.

The judge also criticized the prosecutor’s office for failing to thoroughly examine or analyze bank accounts, account statements, balance sheets and relevant tax returns to prove any illegal activity. The court noted that the prosecutor’s office selectively highlighted several audits without proper context and did not interview employees of sister companies or present evidence of misappropriation of funds.

He further pointed out that Harpreet Fashion was only established in March 2004, questioning the prosecution’s claims of a conspiracy dating back to 2003. The court expressed dissatisfaction with the CBI investigation, particularly its failure to investigate the role of the Circle Bureau and Headquarters instead focusing solely on Parliament Street branch.

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