GUWAHATI, April 21 - In a somewhat piquant development, the State Bank of India (SBI) has moved the police with a first information report (FIR) alleging ‘theft of its hypothecated property’, which was under its custody at Dharapur. SBI took into its custody the said property following a dispute over the repayment of loan taken by a city-based woollen mill owner.
The FIR filed by the Authorised Officer of the Stressed Assets Management Branch (SAMB), Guwahati of the SBI with the Azara Police Station on April 5, 2018, states that some of the property on the Dharapur premises of the Goenka Woollen Mills Ltd, which are in the bank’s custody since November 23, 2006 for recovery of the loan amount, was found missing during an inspection carried out in presence of the owner of the woollen mill on April 4, 2018.
The mill premises were guarded by the personnel of the city-based security agencies – Royal Security Services, Bombay Intelligence Agency and Security & Intelligence Services.
But during the April 4, 2018 inspection, it was found that though the front door of the factory premises was locked and sealed, the rear portion of the factory premises was found damaged. Some machinery of the company which was shown in the inventory was also found missing.
In the FIR, the SABM Authorised Officer stated that someone had stolen the hypothecated assets from the premises to cause financial losses to the bank in as much as the lost machinery was hypothecated with the bank and the bank was entitled to recover a sum of Rs 28,02,88,767.02 as on 31.03.2018.
It needs to be mentioned here that on September 1, 2014, the mill authorities received a letter (dated August 28, 2014, no. SAMB/BR/1755) from the Kolkata-based Deputy General Manager, SBI’s Stressed Assets Management Branch conveying – “As per the audited balance sheet as on March 31, 2009, out of the current assets worth Rs 3.14 crore, stocks constitute Rs 1.20 crore, presently there are no stocks.”
The Goenka Woollen Mills Ltd lodged an FIR against the misappropriation of its stock worth Rs 1.20 crore from the custody of the State Bank of India, Guwahati with the Azara Police Station which registered a case (no. 352/16) under Section 409 of the IPC in this regard.
The mill authorities alleged in their FIR that the possession of assets of the woollen mill, a small scale industrial unit located in the Dharapur area of the city, was taken over by SBI, AT Road Branch, Guwahati on November 23, 2006, along with the assets of its guarantor – the Maligaon-based M/S Calico Woollen Industry.
The Gauhati High Court had quashed the FIR filed by the owners of the unit with the Azara Police Station. The court had directed the police station to conduct a preliminary enquiry to ascertain whether any cognizable offence was committed by the bank authorities in view of the allegations levelled by the owners of the unit.