In the biggest such payment made till date, the office of the custodian [in the 1992 Harshad Mehta securities scam], on Wednesday, released payments of Rs 2,196 crore to the Income Tax (I-T) and the State Bank of India (SBI).
Satish Loomba, the custodian, who comes under the ministry of finance, handed over cheques of Rs 1,995.66 crore to the income tax and Rs 199.25 crore to the State Bank of India.
Nilima Mansukhani, chief commissioner of Income Tax (Maharashtra) and B Sriram, chief general manager (securities), SBI, accepted the cheques.
“With these payments, we can say the principal amount due to the I-T and the SBI has been paid in full,” Loomba told reporters.
He said the amount was recovered after the sale of movable and immovable assets including properties (both residential and commercial) and shares that belonged to the Harshad Mehta Group. He said a large part of the realisation came through cash.
Mansukhani said that though the principal amount had been realised, there was a huge build-up in terms of interest, penalty and levy to be recovered. She said the I-T would contest to claim these dues but said there was little hope of getting them.
Loomba said the total liability towards the banks, including SBI and Standard Chartered Bank, was Rs 1,717 crore, of which Rs 1,000 crore had been paid. Standard Chartered Bank has to still get Rs 500 crore, but its claim is stuck in legal tangles.
He said the custodian’s office was in possession of assets worth Rs 500 crore that belonged to the Harshad Mehta Group and hopes to realise a further Rs1,000 crore from the group.
Till date, the custodian has paid back liabilities of up to Rs 4,000 crore from recoveries made from the group.
He said there were 600 pieces of jewellery that were impounded and have not been sold yet.