FPJ Exclusive: British Citizen Wanted For Fraud Arrested At Kerala Airport After 3-Year Pursuit

FPJ Exclusive: British Citizen Wanted For Fraud Arrested At Kerala Airport After 3-Year Pursuit

A Look Out Circular (LoC) had been issued against him. He was arrested by the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) in connection with the case and transported to Mumbai.

Vishal SinghUpdated: Thursday, April 11, 2024, 11:17 PM IST
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Mumbai: Ajit Menon, a British citizen, sought by authorities for three years, was apprehended at Kerala airport on April 9 upon his arrival from the United Kingdom. A Look Out Circular (LoC) had been issued against him. He was arrested by the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) in connection with the case and transported to Mumbai. In February 2021, the EOW filed a case against Cox and Kings Financial Services Ltd (CKFSL), a subsidiary of Cox and Kings, for allegedly defrauding Yes Bank of approximately ₹400 crore.

According to an EOW source, even though Menon was designated as the managing director of the company under Kerkar's instructions, his appointment wasn't documented. The EOW FIR implicated Kerkar, his wife Urshila Kerkar, and others based on a complaint filed by Ashish Vinod Joshi, the chief vigilance officer of Yes Bank.

The FIR alleges that the accused individuals fabricated purchase and sales transactions in the company's account books from 2018 to 2019, falsely portraying the company's financial health as robust. This enabled them to secure a Rs 400 crore loan from Yes Bank between September 7, 2018, and November 1, 2019. It is claimed that a significant portion of the loan funds was redirected to Cox & Kings Ltd for their own gain, as stated by Joshi, the complainant, in the FIR.

The company in question provided misleading financial statements to bolster its creditworthiness, misusing loan funds for purposes other than intended and disregarding terms set by Yes Bank. Through manipulated balance sheets, it breached the bank's trust, resulting in an alleged loss of Rs 398.38 crore.

Menon's Involvement In Fraud

EOW officials discovered that Rs 396 crore of the loan funds were unlawfully redirected to Cox And Kings Limited at Menon's behest. Additionally, EOW obtained statements from key senior executives Milind Gandhi, Ravi Menon, and Shailesh Pednekar under CrPC section 164, affirming Menon's central role in managing loan transactions and company policies.

In September 2018, Rs 56 crore was redirected to the State Bank of India account of Promethon Enterprises Ltd., a foreign company based in the United Kingdom. Menon, who served as the CEO, oversaw the operations of the UK company. Consequently, police suspect that he also benefited from these transactions. Additionally, Menon managed the operations of group companies within the Cox and King group across Europe.

The EOW is now seeking to investigate how the funds, originally intended as bank loans for Cox and Kings company, were diverted to its foreign subsidiaries, through questioning Menon.

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