Utilizing his home as a “company guest house” and funding personal household expenses through the company; receiving exorbitant medical bills and other expenses reimbursed; obtaining long-term visa fees for foreign travel on his passport for a period well after he retired; utilizing an official vehicle for personal purposes.
In light of the allegations of financial misconduct and abuse of position, the Ministry of Railways Saturday stripped Amitabh Banerjee of his powers as the Chairman and Managing Director of his PSU Indian Railway Finance Corporation (IRFC).
The IRFC is a top-rated PSU with a Schedule A owned by Railways. It provides loans to Railways for the purchase of rolling equipment and in the case ofe the creation of infrastructure assets.
The case against Banerjee has come into the government’s sacking of National High-Speed Rail Corporation MD Satish Agnihotri on corruption charges.
A vigilance inquiry conducted by Railways after an anonymous complaint revealed that Banerjee was a member of the public service in 2009 as an official of the Indian Railway Accounts Service (IRAS) was able to move with his family to an apartment with four bedrooms situated in Delhi’s Green Park Extension in January 2020, after negotiating with the company to lease the property on lease for approximately two lakh rupees per month to be”the IRFC “guest home”.
As the sole occupants in”the “guest house” The Banerjee family received their daily expenses, such as groceries and dry fruits, vegetable computer mouse, sanitary products fixtures, fittings the recharge of utilities that were and other charges to be incurred“the “guest home”.
There are documents to prove the expenses by the term “food items” and often with no bill number or number that can be used as reimbursement. The cost of consumables was around 30000 rupees per month.
The guesthouse has displayed “food items” bought several times in one day, throughout the month, in varying quantities, mostly less than 1,000 and occasionally more thant.
Many entries are described in the form of “miscellaneous items” such as an Shoppers Stop bill of Rs 9,900. Some were from “SIX up to TEN”, “Super Marche”, “Reliance Fresh” etc., as per the documentation.
“The “guest house” included a refrigerator and a TV, a washing machine and more, all rented at an annual rate of Rs 70,000, in accordance with the report that said the rent payments are in the end higher than the worth of the asset.
All-hours assistance, including cook, helper, as well as cleaning staff , were also employed to the house of the family, at the expense of the company due to”guest house.
Banerjee removed himself from the house recently and moved to a new home located in Kailash Colony on his own lease.
In a different set of allegations that are being investigated in the investigation of Railways, Banerjee got a 10-year UK visa in 2019 to allow his official visit to the UK, for which there was a fee for visas in the range of Rs 98,000. The vigilance probe asked the reason why the company had to pay for the pricey 10-year visa on the basis of his own (non-official) passport at the time that Banerjee is scheduled to quit in 2023. The vigilance probe asked why a less expensive shorter-duration visa wasn’t used.
Documents revealed that warning signs were raised in the company prior to the payment was approved, but Banerjee, as the CMD was able to prevail.
“The financial implications of the various allegations of wrongdoings may not be too significant but they’re an abuse of power and conduct that is not appropriate for a CMD of a PSU,” a top Railway ministry source told The Deccan Era. “That’s the reason he’s been to be divested of his authority. He is not able to be removed completely without the approval of the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet, which can take about two-three months,” the source told us.
The Railway ministry issued the order on Saturday requested the firm’s finance director, Shelly Verma, to use the power of CMD for 3 months.
In a different set of allegations, Banerjee hired an ambulance through a private vendor to transport his mother who was suffering from illness in the second round in the Covid disease in the month of April of last year. He also received a reimbursement of the sum of Rs 1.54 lakh as ambulance charges for transporting patients from Green Park to Apollo Hospital in Jasola. The records show that the expenditure was not accompanied by a bill. Another ambulance was hired at Rs 19,000 to transfer patients from Apollo into Northern Railway Hospital. Northern Railway hospital. Additional expenses were incurred, such as an oxygen supply of Rs 10500 and so on, which were paid, according to reports.
Banerjee took office on the 12th of October 2019. Documents reveal that from October 14 until November 2nd the 2nd of November, his office was able to incur the cost of $77,000 for private household goods.
A few of the items purchased included: Ball pens, Rs. 2,290 and photo shoots at Rs 8,000; and Shoppers Stop products (towels and wall clocks glass, vacuum bottle coaster, service tray and) cost: Rs 33,462 Towels: Rs. 3,000 Smart Bulb: 14,612; labour cost of Rs 6000.
“All the accusations are unsubstantiated. It’s an attempt to smear my self,” Banerjee told The Indian Express on Sunday.
In response to his allegations, the officer claimed that the chargesheet of the vigilance only covers two things – the guest house as well as visa for the UK visa.
“The Board of Directors approved the lease of the house to be “directors’ guest house”. The house had four bedrooms. My wife and me stayed in one of the rooms and the remaining three rooms were empty. There was no one else in the room due to the lockdown time,” he said.
Banerjee claimed that to live in the guest house the guest house cost him two lakhs per year.
“The expenses cited by the guesthouse is due to the fact that we stayed there. What else is the reason I pay the 900 rupees per day to guests at the house?” he said.
Banerjee claimed that, after his arrival in Delhi following his departure from Konkan Railway (his earlier posting as Director Finance) in Mumbai and Mumbai, the Railway ministry had approved a Type 5 government residence for the former director. However, no home was empty.
“So following the approval from the IRFC Board of Directors, we attempted to buy the house to use for a permanent corporate guest home. If nothing came of it then the company decided to take the house on lease. At this point I didn’t get the 1.4 million per month in house allowance that I are entitled to.” the man said.
Concerning the fee for visas, Banerjee said that the 10-year visa was decision of visa authority. “It will be the visa issuer authority that decides the validity of the visa regardless of the request of the applicant. In any event the difference in cost of a visa for a shorter duration as well as a 10-year-visa is minimal. I don’t have an official yellow (official) passport, and we didn’t have the time to obtain one at the moment,” he said.
Documents indicate that when he was IRFC Director, the man went on several visits for trips to UK, Singapore along with other officials to participate in “roadshows” in order to collect money. Sources told the BBC that the railway vigilance team was investigating the expenses that were incurred on these travels.
In relation to charges for medical expenses, they claimed that his mother’s condition was being treated on ventilator in transit in”the “second phase of Covid” as well as that “his family members” organized the ambulance in time of her need.
In addition, Banerjee was among those mentioned in a prior investigation by the CBI regarding bamboo procurement by company called the Hindustan Paper Corporation Limited where the director was Finance. Sources told the CBI later filed a closure report without a charge.