File photo of former SBI chairman Pratip Chaudhuri | Commons

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New Delhi: The case in which former State Bank of India (SBI) chairman Pratip Chaudhuri was arrested earlier this week centres on a hotel project in Jaisalmer dating back 14 years. 

SBI sanctioned a loan of Rs 24 crore for a project of the Gaudavan Group — Garh Rajwada — in 2007. However, the project could not be completed and Gaudavan Group owner Dilip Singh Rathore passed away in April 2010, and the company allegedly defaulted on the loan.

The allegation against Chaudhuri is that he “connived” with a company named Alchemist Asset Reconstruction and “violated Reserve Bank of India guidelines” to wrongly declare the loan a non-performing asset (NPA), and sold company property worth Rs 200 crore for Rs 25 crore.

Rathore’s son Harendra Singh Rathore has pointed out that Chaudhuri, who retired as SBI chairman after a two-year term in September 2013, joined the board of Alchemist Asset Reconstruction Company (ARC) in October 2014. 

An FIR in the case lodged in 2015 was closed after Rajasthan Police filed a closure report stating that it was a “civil matter” between individuals, and no criminality on part of Chaudhuri was made out.

However, following a local court order stemming from a 2016 protest petition filed by Harendra Rathore — the current promoter of Gaudavan Group, who challenged the police action and their…

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