Top bank officials arrested on alleged graft charges

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

MUMBAI - At least eight top officers of some state-run banks and financial institutions were arrested by India’s federal probe agency Wednesday for allegedly accepting bribes to extend loans to corporate houses in a housing finance scam.

The officials include the chief executive of LIC Housing Finance, a general manager of the Central Bank of India and senior officials of Punjab National Bank and Bank of India, officials at the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) told reporters here.

No names were divulged, nor was any value attached to the alleged fraud.

The arrests followed search and seizure operations at the offices of LIC Housing Finance across the country, during which the sleuths reportedly found a trail of incriminating documents, the investigating agency said.

Among those arrested is a top executive of Money Matters, a financial services firm, who was taken into custody for allegedly brokering the deals, the agency added.

Reports of search and seizure operations, an hour before the closing bell at bourses, had an immediate impact, resulting in a benchmark index for Indian equities shedding around 279 points.

The 30-share sensitive index (Sensex) of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), which had opened at 19,735.28 points, closed at 19,412.78, down 279.06 points or 1.42 percent from its previous close at 19,691.84 points.

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