New Delhi: A Delhi court today allowed one-day transit remand to the CBI to take Rotomac owner Vikram Kothari and his son Rahul to Lucknow to produce them before a court in connection with a Rs 3,695-crore loan default case, saying their presence in Uttar Pradesh was required to recover the alleged siphoned-off money.
They were produced before Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Samar Vishal by the CBI which sought 2-day transit remand to take them to Lucknow, alleging that the crime had global ramifications and it had to explore the modus operandi and recover the siphoned-off crime money which was generated after committing frauds with the bank.
“Produce them before the concerned court within 24 hours,” the judge said. The two accused were arrested yesterday for alleged default on loan repayment. While seeking their transit remand, the agency also claimed that it had to recover the crime proceeds and unearth the larger conspiracy. It sought the remand “to produce the accused before the competent court of M P Chaudhary, special judge, Lucknow, in the interest of justice”.
Advocate Pramod Kumar Dubey, appearing for Kotharis, opposed the plea, saying the accused were “illegally detained” and made scapegoat to save its own face. “You are making me a scapegoat to save your face since one of your accused has escaped from the country,” the advocate said on behalf of the accused, without naming anyone.
He said the accused was found at his own house. “I was not hiding. The question is who is hiding its face behind my custody,” the advocate asked. In its application, the CBI said that the accused were arrested since they were “not cooperating with the investigation and giving vague answers”.
It said the examination of the accused was “mainly focussed on the modus operandi to commit the fraud with the bank and subsequent siphoning off the fraud amount parking of crime proceeds and its recovery.” Earlier in the day, the defence counsel had objected to the jurisdiction of the court, saying the accused should be produced before a special CBI court and not before a magisterial court. However, the court dismissed the contention and decided to hear arguments on the CBI application seeking transit remand.
A consortium of seven banks had extended loans worth Rs 2,919 crore to Rotomac Global Pvt Limited 2008 onwards, according to a CBI FIR. The amount swelled to Rs 3,695 crore, including the accrued interest, because of repeated defaults on payment, it claimed. The CBI initiated the action on the complaint of Bank of Baroda, a member of the consortium led by Bank of India, which had approached it fearing that Kothari may flee the country like Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi.
The principal exposure of the banks regarding the loan is Bank of India Rs 754.77 crore, Bank of Baroda Rs 456.63 crore, Overseas Bank of India Rs 771.07 crore, Union Bank of India Rs 458.95 crore, Allahabad Bank Rs 330.68 crore, Bank of Maharashtra 49.82 crore and Oriental Bank of Commerce Rs 97.47 crore, the agency has said.
The CBI had filed the case against Vikram, his wife Sadhana and Rahul, and unidentified bank officials.