AN ECONOMIC Offences Wing (EOW) team from Mumbai landed in Indore on Wednesday to pursue investigations against BCD Food and Oil, SA, the ‘offshore company’ that signed an agreement with IMC to operate magnetic levitation (Maglev) trains and used the document to defraud an Iranian firm, Polodej, of US $ 4.2 million.
The two-member team grilled Municipal Commissioner Vinod Sharma about the contract signed with BCD. It is reported to have gone through the Maglev file with a fine-toothed comb and also carried away letters exchanged between Corporation officials and chief accused Rohit Gupta.
It may be recalled that BCD, represented by Gupta, entered into an agreement with the IMC, headed by then Mayor Kailash Vijayvargiya, to operate a Maglev-based Mass Rapid Transit System (IMRTS) in 2004. Gupta then used the agreement to invite global tenders for the project. Among the bidders was Polodej, a leading Iranian construction company. Gupta asked the firm to submit $ 2.7 million and later asked for two separate bank guarantees amounting to $3.17 and $ 9.7 million. After this was done the BCD agent decamped with the money.
The scam ballooned into an international incident with the Iranian Government lodging a formal complaint with the Ministry of External Affair on behalf of Polodej. A case was registered against the IMC as well as Gupta and his accomplices ‘Professor’ Som Datt Sharma, M Hamid of Los Angeles and Hong Kong-based Anna Cheung. The four, however, absconded and even a red corner notice issued by the Interpol has so far failed to run them to ground.