After PNB and Rotomac, CBI exposes three fresh cases of financial frauds

Illustration: Binay Sinha
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.

 
Oriental Bank of Commerce 3.9 billion fraud

 
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 3.9 billion involving the Oriental Bank of Commerce.

After the PNB and the 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 the 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 non-performing assets (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.

 
The Oriental Bank of Commerce complaint has 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.

 
"We feel that Sabhya Seth of Dwarka Das Seth International Pvt Ltd had orchestrated an elaborate plan to dupe the bank," the bank said in its complaint.

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 the letters of credit of foreign banks, which were either non-existent or had negative ratings.

 
Bank of Maharashtra scam

 
The CBI on Wednesday 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.

 
It is alleged that Singla and his company took loans of Rs 95 million 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 180 million by Tech Mach International.

The Bank of Maharashtra has approached the CBI to lodge a loan default complaint against Amit Singla. The loan had turned into an NPA in 2013 and the bank has 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.

 
But, after the loans turned into NPAs, the actual market value of the properties was found to be only Rs 25 million. One of the properties, a double-storied house owned by Roshan Lal in Rohtak, Haryana, was valued at Rs 48.5 million while sanctioning the loan. When the bank sold it off to recover its dues, it fetched only Rs 73,00,000.

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 49.5 million, but it was actually worth Rs 31,00,000 only.

 
Tech Mach was later removed from the panel of values by the bank.

In the complaint, the 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 Rajasthan branch fraud

 
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.

The 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 20 million in 2011 and the bank had even suspended the official following an internal inquiry.

Earlier, cases of major financial frauds involving Rs 114 billion by diamantaire Nirav Modi and Rs 36.95 billion by Rotomac owner Vikram Kothari surfaced, in which the CBI has filed cases and made several arrests.

Dear Reader,


Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.

We, however, have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.

Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.

Digital Editor

Business Standard is now on Telegram.
For insightful reports and views on business, markets, politics and other issues, subscribe to our official Telegram channel