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CBI to seek Interpol’s aid in tracing jeweller in another loan default case

The company has availed various credit facilities from OBC between 2007-12, which swelled to Rs 389 crore during the period.

business Updated: Feb 24, 2018 23:03 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
OBC loan fraud,Nirav Modi fraud,PNB Nirav Modi
CBI has registered a case against a Delhi-based diamond jewellery exporter for an alleged bank loan fraud to the tune of Rs 389.85 crore towards Oriental Bank of Commerce.(HT File Photo)

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is likely to approach the Interpol to help trace a Delhi-based jeweller and his firm’s directors, who fled the country four years ago after allegedly defrauding the Oriental Bank of Commerce (OBC) of nearly Rs 390 crore, officials familiar with the matter said.

The central probe agency has booked jeweller Sabhya Seth, his firm Dwarka Das International Private Limited, company’s directors Reeta Seth, Krishna Kumar Singh and Ravi Singh and another company, Dwarka Das Seth SEZ Incorporation, as the accused in the case.

“The complaint and preliminary enquiries conducted by the CBI have revealed that Sabhya Seth and other directors of the firm are untraceable since 2014. The agency has registered a case in this regard. It is suspected that they have fled the country. The CBI is likely to seek Interpol’s help to trace them,” said a CBI official familiar with the development.

The CBI had recently knocked on Interpol’s door seeking assistance in tracing jewellers Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi — the main accused in the Rs 11,400 crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud.

In 2014, OBC had declared the accused’s accounts as non-performing assets and initiated the process of recovering the debt of Rs 389.85 crore.

The next year, the bank carried out a forensic audit of their accounts and found that at least three counterparties linked to the letters of credit (LC) were non-existent. The bank observed that a few of the LC issuing banks had negative ratings or no presence in the country of the counterparties.

The accused allegedly misused LCs to pay other trade creditors against purchase of gold and other precious stones outside the country by using fictitious trade transactions and then pay off LC liabilities from gold and fund transferred. The bank also suspected them to be involved in round-tripping (simultaneous buying and selling of gold) to improve the top line of the company. The bank reported them to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) for alleged foreign exchange violations.

OBC had filed its complaint to the CBI in August 2017 and told the agency that the involvement of its staff in the fraud cannot be ruled out.

First Published: Feb 24, 2018 10:31 IST