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Saraswat Bank chairman, seven more booked in cheating case in Pune

The incident allegedly took place between 2018 and 2020. The complainant’s company had a term loan account with Saraswat Bank’s Vishrantwadi branch

December 27, 2021 / 10:43 AM IST

The Pune Police have registered a cheating case against eight persons including Saraswat Bank Chairman Gautam Thakur and Managing Director Smita Sandhane, based on an order from a judicial magistrate court.

"We have registered a cheating case against Saraswat Bank Chairman and seven other people based on a Court order. The investigation is currently on," Senior Police Inspector Mahendra Jagtap of Kothrud Police station told Moneycontrol on 27 December.

According to local media reports, Smita Sameer Patil, a resident of Kothrud, filed a complaint with the local police station following which an FIR was registered against Saraswat Bank Chairman Gautam Thakur, Managing Director Smita Sandhane, Chief Manager Anand Chalke, Zonal Managers Pallavi Sali, Ratnakar Prabhakar, Vishrantwadi Branch Manager Abhishek Bhagat, and others.

At the heart of the matter is a dubious transaction. The incident allegedly took place between 2018 and 2020. The complainant’s company had a term loan account with Saraswat Bank’s Vishrantwadi branch.

The Saraswat bank officials allegedly made a bogus loan account and then sent a proposal to the company on August 13, 2018 for a one-time settlement of Rs 13 crore. The bank allegedly misused cheques given as security for a term-loan account by paying Rs 2.5 crore for the fake loan account, the report said.

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Started in 1918, Saraswat Bank claims to be the largest Urban Co-operative Bank in India and has operations in six states – Maharashtra, Goa, Gujarat, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka.

According to the bank’s website, it has a total business of Rs.67,000 crore plus, 283 branches and over 311 ATMs.

Cooperative banks have faced challenges from fraudulent activities and major misgovernance issues. The RBI superseded Mumbai-based Punjab and Maharashtra Cooperative Bank in September 2019 after unearthing a large scale fraud. The PMC Bank resolution process is currently on.

Over the last two years, the RBI has issued over 200 directive targeting erring cooperative banks and has cancelled the working permits of at least six cooperative banks.

Saraswat Bank was immediately unavailable for a comment.
Dinesh Unnikrishnan is Deputy Editor at Moneycontrol. Dinesh heads the Banking and Finance Bureau at Moneycontrol. He also writes a weekly column, Banking Central, every Monday.
first published: Dec 27, 2021 09:03 am
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