Retired Bank of Maharashtra officer jailed for four years in corruption case

New Delhi: A 66-year-old retired manager of Bank of Maharashtra has been sent to four years in jail in a corruption case by a special court, which termed him as the 'kingpin' of the fraud.

The court awarded the jail term to Vinay Kumar Jain after holding him guilty for various offences including criminal conspiracy, forgery, cheating, falsification of accounts, using as genuine forged documents under the IPC and abusing his official position by obtaining pecuniary advantage.

Special CBI Judge Sanjeev Aggarwal also sentenced Praveen Kumar Gupta, proprietor of M/s Pragati Conductors and partner in M/s Kamal Enterprises to three years imprisonment for various offences, calling him "cohort" of Jain in the crime. Gupta was granted bail for two months to file an appeal against his conviction and sentence.

"Accused number 1 (Jain) was working as Branch Manager, Mukherjee Nagar Branch of Bank of Maharashtra, Delhi in a position of trust i.e. he was in fiduciary relationship with regard to the funds of the bank of which he was the custodian.

"By abusing his official position as a public servant in conspiracy with accused number 4 (Gupta) and other accused persons (who are proclaimed offenders) allowed them to enjoy the bank funds to the tune of Rs 20 crore without any sanction thereby causing loss of interest to said bank branch," the court said, adding that interest of justice shall be met, if Jain, the "kingpin of this fraud", is sentenced rigorous jail.

The court imposed a fine of Rs 34,000 and Rs 15,000 on Jain and Gupta respectively. According to CBI, a case was lodged in August 1994 on the allegation that Jain in conspiracy with Gupta debited the clearing house receivable (CHR) account of the bank against banking norms by debiting and honouring the cheques of Gupta and other accused, who are absconding, when there were insufficient funds in the accounts.

It said when the cheques were received through clearing house for clearing, instead of debiting the party account..., Jain debited the CHR account which is an office account of the bank in which no entry pertaining to any customer can be made.

Later, when sufficient funds were available in Gupta's firms' account, Jain credited the CHR account by reversing the earlier debit entry, thus causing loss of interest to the bank, CBI said.

During trial, Jain claimed he was falsely implicated in the case. Gupta also claimed that he was dealing with the bank honestly and had never conspired with Jain or any other person for preparing false documents.

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