₹1,030 crore Axis Bank loan fraud case: Peter Kerkar, 2 senior Cox and Kings executives arrested
The economic offences wing (EOW) of the Mumbai Police on Tuesday arrested Cox and Kings (CNK) promoter Ajay Ajit Peter Kerkar and two other senior executives of the firm, in connection with ₹1,030 crore Axis Bank loan fraud case. The special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court on Monday had granted their custody to EOW.
EOW took Kerkar in custody from Arthur Road jail, whereas the two others, chief financial officer Anil Khandelwal and internal auditor of the tours and travel firm, Naresh Jain, we’re taken in custody from Taloja jail in Navi Mumbai.
In the Axis Bank fraud case, the Cox and Kings promoter, its directors and others have been booked for payment default, cheating, forgery, criminal breach of trust, falsification of documents and criminal conspiracy, among other charges.
Axis Bank vice-president Prakash Rao had filed a complaint at Cuffe Parade police station in November 2020. The case was later transferred to EOW for investigation.
Nine people – Ajay Peter Kerkar (chief executive officer and group director of CNK); Urrshila Kerkar, Pessey Patel, ABM Good, Anil Khandelwal, Mahalinga Narayanan, Arup Sen, Manisha Amblapurkar and Nilu Singh – have been made accused in this case.
“Axis Bank in their complaint said Cox and Kings had taken several loans from them and diverted the funds to suspicious bank accounts. Cox and Kingsand Ezeego jointly owe Axis Bank a total of ₹1,030 crore. They caused wrongful losses to the bank,” said a police officer who is part of the probe.
The EOW is investigating six FIRs against Cox and Kings group for alleged frauds involving over ₹1,950 crore. Out of six FIRs complainants in four complaints are private sector banks. The Enforcement Directorate (ED) officers are also probing the irregularities of the company concerning the money laundering aspect, while EOW is looking into the criminal part. ED had arrested Peter Kerkar on November 26, 2020. He was later sent to judicial custody.
Previously FIRs against Cox and Kings were registered based on complaints lodged by Kotak Mahindra Bank, IndusInd Bank, HDFC Bank and a private investment firm. The amount involved in the irregularities as per these give complaints are to the tune of around ₹1,950 crores.
EOW officers said the travel company its promotors, directors, auditors and other accused conspired together and fraudulently availed loan from various banks. “Forged documents submitted to banks by Cox and Kings group to fraudulently obtain the loan. Later the loan money was diverted and used for other purposes,” said an officer.
Peter Kerker has also filed two counter FIRs against some complainant banks and senior executives of his company for conspiring together and cheating the company. EOW is also probing these two complaints.