Rs. 180 crore JNPT scam: CBI arrests wanted accused from Guj

The CBI has arrested a wanted economic offender from Gujarat for his alleged involvement in forging letters on behalf of Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) and making surreptitious transfer of crores of rupees from Oriental Bank of Commerce.

The CBI, which was on trail of Rajesh Natwarlal Bangawala, arrested him from Rajkot in Gujarat on Saturday night, the agency said. A cash reward of Rs. one lakh was announced for information leading to his arrest and CBI had circulated his pictures in various national dailies.

42-year-old Bangawala was wanted by the CBI in connection with a case filed after the JNPT registered a complaint with the agency earlier this year that somebody had surreptitiously transferred Rs. 180 crore from two branches of Oriental Bank of Commerce (OBC).

After registering the case under various provisions of Indian Penal Code and Prevention of Corruption Act, the CBI started investigation and secured a court order for reversal of JNPT funds.

After the CBI started investigating the matter, Rs. 110.12 crore lying with other banks had been seized under instructions of the probe agency, while Rs. 64.31 crore was untraced and the balance Rs 5.57 crore which was lying with the OBC was remitted back to the JNPT.

According to the CBI’s FIR, the JNPT had placed funds aggregating Rs. 180 crore with the OBC initially for the purpose of term deposit in two tranches in February this year.

The OBC’s Malwani branch in Mumbai received funds of Rs. 110 crore on February 12, this year from the JNPT for issuance of term deposit in favour of the port trust. However, next day, the branch received a fax purportedly signed by a JNPT officer for transferring the same funds to the current account of Padmavati International, it said.

The bank again received Rs. 70 crore from the JNPT for issuance of term deposit in favour of the port trust. The same modus operandi was used and another fax was sent to the bank for transferring the amount to the same company, it said.

Thereafter, the JNPT inquired over the telephone on March 5, this year regarding non-issuance of term deposit in its favour from the bank. On receipt of the letter from the JNPT, a preliminary investigation was conducted by the bank itself, the CBI said.