Cases against jeweller, businessman and public servant on complaints by three different banks
New Delhi : Three fresh incidences of financial fraud have come to light as the CBI filed cases against a jeweller, a businessman and a public servant on complaints by three different banks earlier this week, an official said on Saturday. On Thursday, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) registered a case against Delhi’s Karol Bagh-based diamond jewellery exporting firm Dwarka Das Seth International for an alleged bank loan fraud of Rs 389.85 crore involving the Oriental Bank of Commerce. The CBI on Wednesday had filed a case against businessman Amit Singla and others on a complaint of the Bank of Maharashtra for a loan through forged documents and its criminal misappropriation and use. The same day, the agency also filed a case against Inder Chand Chundawat, then Senior Branch Manager in the Punjab National Bank (PNB)’s Barmer office in Rajasthan, for abuse of his official position.
Earlier, cases of major financial frauds involving Rs 11,300 crore by diamantaire Nirav Modi and Rs 3,695 crore by Rotomac owner Vikram Kothari surfaced, in which the CBI has filed cases and made several arrests. After the PNB and Bank of Baroda filed cases against Nirav Modi and Rotomac Global, the Oriental Bank of Commerce, the Bank of Maharashtra and Barmer office of the PNB rushed to CBI as well with their complaints of fraud, leading to the agency filing three separate cases.
The Oriental Bank of Commerce has alleged that it was defrauded by Delhi jeweller Dwarka Das Seth International and its owner Sabhya Seth. The loans turned into NPAs way back in 2014, but the bank approached the agency on August 16 last year, after the company had folded up and Seth fled the country.
CBI has started tracing India-based directors and partners of the company.
The Oriental Bank of Commerce complaint alleged that the Dwarka Das Seth International took loans by way of letters of credit and other such credit facilities for gold jewellery export/import between 2007 and 2012 but failed to pay back. A probe by the bank found that the company had indulged in round-tripping of funds through fictitious companies abroad and had utilised funds by discounting bills based on letters of credit of foreign banks, which were either non-existent or had negative ratings. “We feel Sabhya Seth of Dwarka Das Seth International Pvt Ltd had orchestrated an elaborate plan to dupe the bank,” the bank said in its complaint.
Similarly, Bank of Maharashtra approached CBI to lodge a loan default complaint against Delhi businessman Amit Singla. The loan turned into an NPA in 2013 and the bank even sold a property kept as collateral to recover its dues, sources said. The Bank of Maharashtra’s FIR names Singla, the proprietor of Delhi-based Ashirwad Chain Co, loan guarantor Roshan Lal Bhalotia, property valuation firm Tech Mach International and unknown officials of the bank. It is alleged that Singla and his company took loans of Rs 9.5 crore through cash credit facility from the bank between 2010 and 2012. The accused allegedly submitted three properties in Delhi and Haryana as collaterals. The properties, at the time of taking the loan, were valued at over Rs 18 crore by Tech Mach International. But, after the loans turned into NPAs, the actual market value of the properties were found to be only Rs 2.5 crore. One of the properties, a double-storied house owned by Roshan Lal in Rohtak, Haryana, was valued at Rs 4.85 crore while sanctioning the loan. When the bank sold it off to recover its dues, it fetched only Rs 73 lakh.
Similarly, a commercial property owned by the accused at Chandni Chowk in Delhi was valued by Tech Mach at the time of disbursal of the loans at Rs 4.95 crore, but it was actually worth Rs 31 lakh only. Tech Mach was later removed from the panel of valuers by the bank.
In the complaint, Bank of Maharashtra said, “The overvalued valuations were deliberately given in connivance with the borrowers and the guarantors… to fraudulently induce the bank to finance the borrower.” The FIR also alleged that Singla had submitted inflated stock audit reports and balance sheets, apart from diverting the loans to sister concerns.
PNB approached the CBI for a second time on Wednesday against one of its branch managers at its Barmer office in Rajasthan. According to the complaint, the branch manager had defrauded the bank of over Rs 2 crore in 2011 and the bank had even suspended the official following an internal inquiry.