Chief financial officer of Zenica Cars arrested
The Delhi Police’s Economic Offences Wing on Friday said it has arrested the chief finance officer of Zenica Cars India Pvt Ltd, a firm involved in the dealership of high-end cars, for allegedly duping banks to the tune of Rs300 crore by forging the company’s balance sheets.
This is the third arrest in this case that was registered in 2018, a legal action that was followed up by the police arresting the company’s directors, father-son duo Rashpal Singh Todd and Mandhir Singh Todd, in September that year. The Todds, who are British citizens of Indian origin, were arrested from the IGI Airport in Delhi just as they were preparing to board a flight to the United Kingdom, allegedly on the pretext of attending a relative’s wedding there.
The latest arrest, of the firm’s chief finance officer Vaibhav Sharma, took place on Thursday, said OP Mishra, joint commissioner of EOW.
Sharma, however, denied that he was arrested. “I received anticipatory bail from the Delhi High Court on Thursday. So, I couldn’t have been arrested,” said Sharma, refusing to comment on the allegations.
But Mishra said that the anticipatory bail only saved Sharma from going to jail. “He was technically and formally arrested and then let off,” said Mishra.
Ajay Verma, a criminal lawyer at Delhi high court, said that an arrest after an anticipatory bail is a mere formality and the accused is released after furnishing a bond.
Sharing the background of the case, Mishra said that in 2007, the Todds had approached the Bahadurshah Zafar Marg branch of HDFC Bank for financial assistance. “They had been availing term loan, cash credit facility and bank guarantee since 2013,” said the officer.
Till March 2018, the firm was operating as per the law, but they began defaulting after that, said the officer. In June 2018, during an inspection, the HDFC Bank found that the balance sheets had been manipulated to dupe the bank of Rs102 crore, Mishra added. He said that other banks too had been duped in a similar fashion, taking the total cheated amount to Rs300 crore. The alleged fraud also involved selling demo cars without no-objection certificates and misappropriating loan amounts.
Detailing Sharma’s role, Mishra said that he had forged the statement of a bank and also showed that the company was suffering losses for four years although their balance sheets showed profits.
The Todd father-son duo have already been chargesheeted in the case.
The Zenica group claims to have established India’s first and largest Audi dealership in NCR and have showrooms of high-end cars across Delhi and Gurugram.