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SBI fraud: 8 bank officials, Harshad Mehta's brother acquitted

Press Trust of India  |  Mumbai 

A has acquitted nine people, including Ashwin Mehta, brother of 1992 securities scam kingpin Harshad Mehta, in a case of duping the of (SBI) to the tune of Rs 105 crore.

Justice Shalini Phansalkar Joshi, who presides over the special court set up for cases related to the 1992 securities scam, said in her judgement last week that there was no hesitation in holding that that the prosecution had failed to prove the case beyond reasonable doubt.

Ashwin was a constituted of and also one of the stock brokers in his brother's firms.

Apart from Ashwin Mehta, those acquitted are Rama Sitharaman, in-charge of securities division of the SBI, and seven other officials -- Bhushan Raut, C Ravi Kumar, S Suresh Babu, P Muralidharan, Ashok Agarwal, Janardhan Bandhopadhyay and Shyam Sundar Gupta.

According to the prosecution, the bank's officials in collusion with the brothers entered into a conspiracy to cheat SBI Caps, the of the country's largest lender, to the tune of Rs 105 crore in the sale and purchase transactions of securities from 1991 to 1992.

SBI Caps routed all 24 transactions via and allegedly suffered a loss, according to the (CBI), the prosecuting agency in the case.

The case against prime accused was 'abated' after he died in 2001.

The CBI claimed the fund diversion could not have taken place without the knowledge of the accused officers.

The court, however, accepted the defence arguments that the funds were diverted from the main branch of the and hence, the case against the accused officers, who were in the securities division, could not be accepted.

"In light of the various gaps and missing links left open by the prosecution, may be on account of death of Harshad Mehta and the discharge of many accused in the case from time to time, the fact remains that the charge of conspiracy could not be proved," the court said.

The court also noted that there was a major lacuna in the sanction given to prosecute the officials under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, November 06 2018. 11:25 IST