The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has registered cases for a Rs 480-crore fraud against six city exporters who allegedly took money from MSTC Limited, a government of India enterprise as advance for export of gold, but pocketed it.
No arrests have been made yet. MSTC—the official website does not give any other name—is an agency under the ministry of steel nominated for gold exports under the foreign trade policy. The agency has its corporate office in Kolkata.
Rishi Raj Singh, joint director, Mumbai-1 zone, CBI, said six export companies approached MSTC in 2008-2009 saying they want to export gold worth Rs 600 crore to the UAE and sought 80% advance.
The companies organised the amount and exported the gold after which MSTC deposited a sum of Rs 480 crore (80% of the amount) was transferred to the companies’ nominated bank accounts. The advance was given on the condition that they return it in 170 days with a commission of Rs 6 crore (1% of the total export amount).
Singh said Jayesh Desai, allegedly the main conspirator, approached MSTC with the others. After getting the advance, these companies should have exported gold to only those companies in the UAE that are listed with MSTC. They, however, exported the gold to six companies in the UAE, which the CBI later found were owned by the same people. They sold the gold in the open market in the UAE.
The amount has not been returned to MSTC. The MSTC failed to file a complaint but the CBI registered a case on Thursday and raided 15 premises in Mumbai, Raigad district, Ahmedabad and Kolkata until Friday.
The amount of Rs 600 crore was transferred to India through illegal channels at 2% commission. Singh said the Rs 480 crore received from MSTC was deposited in Pen Cooperative Urban Bank in Raigad. The accused used a part of the amount to buy properties in and around Pen.
Singh said the MSTC gave an advance although these companies did not obtain a letter of credit, which is necessary to for exports. The MSTC did not check whom the companies were exporting the gold to.
Abhin Modak, superintendent of police, anti-corruption branch (CBI), said the raids revealed that these companies had earlier cheated the State Trading Corporation of India Limited, another government enterprise, of more than Rs 350 crore.
The CBI has registered case of cheating and forgery against 11 people and some officers of the MSTC, who have also been charged with corruption.