Scam led to arrest of several top officials of public sector banks
Suzlon Energy and Lavasa Corporation are among the companies named in the bribery scam that led to the arrest of eight top officials of public sector banks and financial firms on November 24. The companies were allegedly raising loans from a Mumbai-based private financial firm that bribed the senior officials of the state-run banks for the loans.
Central Bureau of Investigation has arrested chief executive officer of LIC Housing Finance Ltd and the senior officials of Bank of India, Central Bank of India, Punjab National Bank, New Delhi; chairman and managing director and two officials of Money Matters Financial Services, a Mumbai-based private financial services company in the bribery case.
Money Matters allegedly bribed these officials for facilitating large-scale corporate loans. According to media reports these loans were given to many companies including Suzlon and Lavasa. The reports suggested that CBI has named more than 20 corporate houses for getting financial services from Money Matters, but not as accused.
Lavasa is building a township near Pune whose future hangs in balance. A public interest petition filed in the Bombay High Court says the project does not have the mandatory environmental clearance from the Union environment ministry, and hence is liable to be cancelled. The petition alleged the Maharashtra government illegally gave environmental clearance to the project in 2004.
Touted as the first hill station since Independence, Lavasa is being developed on 5,058 hectares in the Western Ghats, 65 km from Pune. The project has been surrounded by controversies since its inception; there have been allegations of land grab and involvement of politicians. Tribals from the 18 villages whose land has been taken over for the township have been protesting the project along with activists.
Suzlon has been charged for buying and encroaching upon tribal land in Attappady, Kerala. The state government recently decided to remove Suzlon Energy’s windmills and other establishments from land in the tribal area of Palakkad district, saying the company had taken the area illegally. The company had acquired more than more than 60 hectares of land and put up 12 windmills. The land belonged to 36 tribals who were paying tax for it.
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