Loan Defaults

CBI files cases against Rotomac Pens owner Vikram Kothari for Rs 3,695-crore loan default

The agency registered an FIR against him for criminal breach of trust, diverting funds and violating foreign exchange rules.

The Central Bureau of Investigation has registered a case against Rotomac Global and its directors Vikram Kothari, Sadhana Kothari and Rahul Kothari for wilfully defaulting on loans worth Rs 3,695 crore from government banks, ANI reported on Monday. Earlier in the day, the agency raided Vikram Kothari’s homes in Kanpur.

The CBI filed the case based on a complaint from the Bank of Baroda, one of the banks from which he took a loan. The others involved are the Bank of India, Bank of Maharashtra, Indian Overseas Bank, Union Bank of India, Allahabad Bank and the Oriental Bank of Commerce.

“It was alleged in the complaint that in the Rotomac case, conspirators cheated a consortium of seven banks by siphoning off bank loans to the tune of Rs 2,919 crore [principal amount],” the CBI said, adding that the figure rises to Rs 3,695 crore with interest liabilities.

The agency registered an FIR against Vikram Kothari for criminal breach of trust, diverting funds and violating foreign exchange rules, Business Today reported. The Bank of Baroda had declared him a wilful defaulter in February 2017. The Indian Overseas Bank had lodged an FIR against him allegedly after his cheques bounced.

Some media reports claimed Vikram Kothari was arrested, but CBI spokesperson Abhishek Dayal told PTI they have not made any arrests in the case yet. He said Vikram Kothari, his wife and son are being questioned.

Vikram Kothari on Sunday denied reports that he had left the country, the Hindustan Times reported. “I am very much in Kanpur with my family, running my business here,” he said. “As far as the issue of loans is concerned, I have been in talks with banks for long. Three meetings have taken place with the banks. The matter is pending with the [National Company Law] Tribunal.”

He also denied having done anything wrong. “Yes, I took a loan from the bank, but it’s wrong information that I haven’t paid back,” he said, according to NDTV.

The Enforcement Directorate also registered a case against the Rotomac Pens Chairperson under the Prevention Of Money Laundering Act, according to ANI.

The development comes days after billionaire jewellery designer Nirav Modi was booked for financial fraud. The businessman is accused of cheating Punjab National Bank of Rs 280 crore. Modi is believed to have fled the country in January. The Central Bureau of Investigation has issued a look-out notice against Modi and three others.

The scam involved officials from within the bank allegedly handing out fake Letters of Understanding on behalf of companies associated with Modi, which allowed him to access massive foreign exchange loans that were completely unsecured.

The CBI had said that the bank had filed two complaints against Modi and a jewellery firm for the fraudulent transactions. The agency has also asked Interpol to help locate the billionaire jewellery designer.

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