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Trial in Bhushan Steel case against 283 accused would require a stadium, says lawyer

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Trial in Bhushan Steel case against 283 accused would require a stadium, says lawyer

Trying 283 people in the Bhushan Steel case along with accommodating 70,000 pages of chargesheet will require a stadium, said a lawyer of one of the accused.

The number of people who have been named as accused in the Bhushan Steel case along with 70,000 pages of chargesheet would require a stadium to accommodate them during trial, said a lawyer contesting the case on behalf of one of the accused.

Advocate Vijay Aggarwal has said that the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) would require a stadium as 283 accused cannot be accommodated in one courtroom.

If one lawyer represents an accused, the total strength would cross over 570, which is almost impossible to accommodate in one courtroom.

According to Aggarwal, "As there are 283 accused, trial cannot be held in the courtroom and they should have a stadium. By arraying so many accused, I guess SFIO has ensured that trial may not finish in the lifetime of the present lawyers and the accused persons."

Bhushan Steel has been chargesheeted by the SFIO, naming 283 accused. Apart from SFIO, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Enforcement Directorate (ED) are also probing this case.

According to the investigation agency, Bhushan Power & Steel Limited misused funds by fraudulently diverting Rs 2,348 crore (approx) from the loan account of Punjab National Bank (New Delhi and Chandigarh), Oriental Bank of Commerce (Kolkata), IDBI Bank (Kolkata) and UCO Bank (Kolkata) to the accounts of various shell companies without any obvious purpose.

Bhushan Power & Steel Limited diverted the funds through its directors and staff.

An official said, "It has been alleged that the Bhushan Power & Steel Limited availed various loan facilities from 33 banks/financial institutions between 2007 and 2014 to the tune of Rs 47,204 crore and defaulted on repayments. Subsequently, the lead bank PNB declared the account as a non-performing asset followed by other banks and financial institutions."

According to probe agency, the accused entered into a criminal conspiracy with unknown public servants of banks and others to cheat banks, financial institutions and the government exchequer.

"The accused dishonestly and fraudulently diverted huge amount of bank funds through companies/shell companies/entities etc and deliberately defaulted in repayment and also claimed inadmissible CENVAT [Central Value Added Tax] credit," the officer said.

According to the probe agency, the accused used the bank funds for purposes other than that sanctioned by the bank by committing forgery, using forged documents and falsifying the accounts causing a loss to the tune of Rs 2,348 crore to the lending banks, financial institutions and government exchequer.

Sources say the investigators are probing the entire Rs 47,204 crore which Bhushan Steel owes banks.

The CBI has also issued a look-out-circular (LoC), against the chairman and vice chairman of Bhushan Power & Steel Limited, a company which took a loan of Rs 47,000 crore from banks which later turned into NPAs (non-profitable assets).

LoC has been issued against Sanjay Singal, chairman of Bhushan Steels and his wife Aarti Singal, vice-chairman of the company.

Earlier, on April 6, the CBI conducted searches in multiple locations at offices and residential premises of New Delhi-based Bhushan Power & Steel Limited in connection with a Rs 2,348 crore bank fraud case. The searches were conducted in Delhi-NCR, Chandigarh, Kolkata and Odisha.

Raids were conducted at the residential premises of the company's directors, promoters and their associates in the bank fraud case.

The agency filed an FIR against the firm, it's directors, unidentified public servants and other private persons in the case.