Bhojpuri channel Mahuaa TV — one of the biggest bank loan defaulters raised hundreds of crores from PSU banks reveal that almost everyone seemed to have dipped into the cash pot of India's banks, or at the least, feigned willful ignorance as every norm was broken. Along with it, there was forgery and fraud.
The details are startling. Through five companies, Mahuaa TV's promoters raised Rs 1,724 crore from 14 nationalized banks. The highest amount of Rs 760 crore went to Century Communication, while Rs 334 crore went to Pearl Vision, Rs 234 crore to Mahuaa, Rs 201 crore to Pixion Media and Rs 195 crore to Pixion Vision.
On August 20, TOI had reported the possibility of India's second biggest loan defaulter, Winsome Group, diverting most of the loans raised from PSU banks abroad.
According to available details, the way Mahuaa TV obtained the loan reflects the rot in the Indian banking sector. Consider how Mahuaa Media obtained a term loan of Rs 75 crore from Punjab National Bank through an application on December 15, 2009, for setting up of state-of-the-art digital studios in Noida and Kolkata at an estimated cost of Rs 304.77 crore.
The application, signed by promoter Anand Tewari, contained a 150-page project report prepared by SBI Caps. The report said the promoter would bring in his share of Rs 101.59 crore and the balance Rs 203.18 crore would be financed through long-term loans by a consortium of Punjab National Bank, Union Bank of India and Bank of Baroda.
The site for the digital studio in Noida had not been fixed and no provision was made for leasing of studio premises in Noida in the SBI Caps report. Investigators believe there are several other lacunae in the SBI Caps report.
At PNB, before sanctioning the loan, nobody bothered to visit the Mahuaa Media office, though the company was a new customer for the bank. PNB officials also did not bother to obtain a credit opinion from existing bankers of the company. "No independent verification of the suppliers or the prices of equipment to be financed by the bank was done by the branch," an internal report said.
Source: TOI, 25 August