SBI internal probe finds no hanky-panky in WWG loan

An internal enquiry by the State Bank of India (SBI) has not found any procedural lapses in a Rs75-crore loan sanctioned to Delhi-based Worlds Window Group (WWG) by the bank's mid-corporate group, then headed by Shyamal Acharya.

Late last month, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) alleged that Acharya, as deputy managing director, had been bribed to clear the amount as part of a Rs400-crore loan application.

The report of a two-member internal committee comprising SBI's two most senior managing directors - Hemant Contractor and A Krishnakumar - has not found that there was any relaxation in the eligibility criteria while approving the loan.

 ''We looked at the credit appraisal processes and everything appears to be as per regulations,'' SBI chairman Arundhati Bhattacharya said.

The report finds that no procedures were skipped in sanctioning the loan and concludes that the borrower was eligible. The bank has submitted the internal enquiry report to the Department of Financial Services of the finance ministry on Friday, said a bank spokesperson.

While the investigation clears any doubts over the loan approval process, the bank did not comment on allegations of bribery against Acharya, who was asked to go on leave on the day the allegations surfaced. ''The CBI will look into those aspects,'' Bhattacharya said.

The CBI had, last month, filed a case against three people, including Acharya, K K Kumra, who was an adviser at WWG, and Piyoosh Goyal, founder of WWG. According to CBI officials, Goyal sought a loan of Rs400 crore from SBI. Kumra, who was also a former SBI official, in turn got in touch with Acharya, who allegedly influenced his juniors and got Rs75 crore sanctioned to begin with.

After the loan was cleared, Goyal is alleged to have paid Rs25 lakh to Kumra as his kickback and another Rs15 lakh to be given to Acharya. After Kumra got the money he is alleged to have bought an Omega and a Rolex watch for Rs7.75 lakh and handed them over to Acharya. Both watches were seized from Acharya's cabin in SBI.