CBI books Gujarat firm, promoters for bank fraud of Rs 300 crore
In what could be next big bank fraud, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), in last eight days, has registered four cases against Ahmedabad-based group, Ardor Global Pvt Ltd (AGPL), and its promoters for allegedly cheating Bank of India (BoI) and Central Bank of India in different loans totaling around Rs 300 crore.
However, a forensic audit conducted by consortium of banks revealed in 2018 that there were suspicious routing of funds worth Rs 10,303 crore between 2014 and 2016 in various companies by AGPL, which was earlier known as Chem-Edge International Private Ltd (CEIPL).
In its four FIRs, the agency has listed four loans in which Central Bank had to face losses of Rs 47 crore and Rs 39 crore while BoI faced losses of Rs 98 crore and Rs 112 crore.
The agency has named AGPL, CEIPL and their promoters Bharatbhai Ratanshi Shah and Fenil Shah among others as accused in its cases. Interestingly, CBI had registered two case against the group companies in 2019 as well for cheating Bank of Baroda (BoB) of Rs 39 crore and Rs 68 crore respectively. Another FIR was registered against the group in June 2018 for cheating Central Bank of India of Rs 82 crore.
According to a forensic audit carried out by M/s Ravi Ranjan & Co appointed by the banks, which is now part of CBI latest FIRs, several banking transactions have been found between the entities linked directly or indirectly to Ardor Group. The forensic report said –“there has been rotation of Rs 10,303 crore collectively from AGPL, M/s Ardor International Pvt Ltd (AIPL - another group company) where these two companies had transferred payments to few entities aggregating around Rs 12,178 crore between April 2014 and December 2016”.
The audit, submitted in January 2018, says that the companies which received this money “further transferred the money to the debtors of AGPL as per receivable audits and in turn these parties against transferred funds to AGPL/AIPL aggregating Rs 10,303 crore.”
“There were substantial banking transactions between a few known entities within a small group companies creating doubt about the authenticity f the transactions,” the forensic audit says.
It further added that the debtors of AGPL are not realizable and also there are no stocks. “Bankers have sent letters to debtors and no funds have been realized, thereby, creating a doubt on the genuineness of the debtors,” it says.
The company representatives or its lawyer could not be located by HT.
The agency is already probing some big ticket frauds involving businessmen - including Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi and Sandesara brothers - Chetan and Nitin Sandesara of Sterling Biotech.