Diamantaire, firm directors booked in two new cases

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) issued a statement on Tuesday, saying it had recently booked absconding diamantaire Jatin Mehta and other directors of his firm, including a foreign national. They are accused in two separate cases for defrauding two state-run banks to the tune of Rs 587.55 crore.

Following this, the CBI raided residence and office premises of Mehta and directors of his firm Winsome Diamonds and Jewellery, except for the foreign national who is also accused in the case.

CBI spokesperson RK Gaur confirmed that the searches were conducted at nine places in four cities —Mumbai, Thane, Ahmedabad and Coimbatore — by a team of CBI Mumbai and other state units.

According to the complaints from the banks, Mehta allegedly cheated Bank of Maharashtra to the tune of Rs 323.40 crore while Union Bank of India suffered a loss of Rs 264.15 crore.

Both banks were part of a 14-bank consortium that had extended credit facilities worth over Rs 4,600 crore to Winsome Diamonds for which, the original promoter and guarantor was Mehta, officials said.

The agency booked the company, its original promoter Mehta, whole time directors Ramesh I Parikh and Ravichandran Ramasamy, independent director Harish Ratilal Mehta and Jordanian national Hathyam Salman Ali Abu Obeidah, on the basis of the complaint from Bank of Maharashtra.

In the FIR filed last month, on basis of the complaint from Union Bank of India, the CBI has named the company, Mehta, Bombay Diamonds Company Pvt Ltd and Obeidah as accused.

CBI has registered nine cases against Mehta and his company’s directors for defrauding banks.

Mehta stepped down from the position of managing director of the company in April, 2011, and became non-executive director for strategic and policy decisions of the company.

He left the country before the banks detected the scam and is believed to be in one of the Caribbean islands, St Kitts, CBI sources said.

The company had purchased gold from bullion banks abroad — Bank of Nova Scotia, Standard Bank PLC London and Standard Chartered Bank — on loan basis against the Standby Letter of Credit (SBLC) issued by Indian banks, the banks alleged. An SBLC is a guarantee issued by a bank assuring another bank that it will make payment in case of default by its client.

Once the payments were not received by foreign banks, they liquidated the SBLCs, bringing liability on Indian banks that had to make the payments.

First Published:
Jun 12, 2019 05:57 IST

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