The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has charged Pranav Gupta, founder of Ashoka University, in alleged bank fraud amounting to a massive Rs 1,626 crore. Co-founder Vineet Gupta has also been charged by the CBI. Pranav Gupta and Vineet Gupta are among the founders and trustees of Ashoka University. However, Ashoka University maintains that it has nothing to do with the alleged scam. Post the CBI action, Pranav Gupta and Vineet Gupta have vacated all positions held at Ashoka University.
Alleged bank fraud details
The CBI case involves Chandigarh-based Parabolic Drugs Ltd (PDL), which is owned by Pranav Gupta and Vineet Gupta. A case has been filed by CBI, based on complaint by Central Bank of India. It is alleged that promoters and directors of Parabolic Drugs Ltd (PDL) had taken loans based on forged documents. The funds were then diverted for buying assets and for personal use. Loans were taken from various banks such as State Bank of India, ICICI Bank, UCO Bank, State Bank of Patiala, State Bank of Hyderabad, IDBI Bank, Canara Bank, Exim Bank, SIDBI, Union Bank of India and Bank of Baroda.
CBI raid and FIR
As part of its investigation against Pranav Gupta and Vineet Gupta, CBI conducted raids at 12 locations including Delhi, Faridabad, Ludhiana, Panchkula and Chandigarh. Searches were conducted at offices as well as residential premises of the accused. According to CBI, cash worth Rs 1.59 crore, along with incriminating documents and articles have been recovered.
The FIR copy states that forged documents were used to get loans sanctioned from the banks. The funds were then diverted and utilized for personal enrichment and to avoid repaying the loans. This caused major losses to the banks.
Apart from MD Pranav Gupta and director Vineet Gupta, other people are also named in the FIR. It includes PDL directors Rama Gupta, Deepali Gupta, Sanjeev Kumar, Jagjit Singh Chahal, Ishrat Gill, Vandana Singh and J D Gupta. Guarantors Normal Bansal and T N Goyal have also been named in the FIR, along with other private persons and public servants.
The FIR further states that Parabolic Drugs Ltd has been defaulting on its debt payments since several years. The irregularities were detected during an audit conducted by the lead bank. PDL opened accounts with other banks without permission, which was a breach of agreement that the company had with the consortium banks. These other bank accounts are alleged to have been used for diverting funds and buying assets and personal use.
Based on the modus operandi deployed by the accused, the FIR states that the accused may continue to engage in similar frauds in the future. It involved cheating companies and their shareholders, all while making massive personal profits.
As with most white-collar crimes, the case involving Parabolic Drugs Ltd and its owners Pranav Gupta and Vineet Gupta and other accused may take a long time to resolve. The loans taken by PDL were declared as NPAs by lead bank SBI in 2014.