The Central Bureau of Investigation has filed a chargesheet against absconding diamond merchant Jatin Mehta, two former chairmen and managing directors of the Canara Bank and 18 entities for allegedly cheating the bank of Rs 146 crore, reported The Hindu on Thursday. The agency has also sought an Interpol Red Notice against Mehta.
Mehta, who was the promoter of Winsome Diamonds and Jewellery Ltd, owes around Rs 6,800 crore to a consortium of banks, but obtained citizenship in the Caribbean nation of St Kitts and Nevis along with his wife, Sonia Mehta, in 2013-’14. India does not have an extradition treaty with that country.
“The agency has filed the chargesheet against 21 accused including Mehta, his company, his wife and 15 public servants,” CBI spokesperson Abhishek Dayal told Mint.
Dayal said that former CMDs of Canara Bank – Avinash Chander Mahajan and Sunder Rajan Raman – are named in the chargesheet, along with former executive director Archana Bhargava. The chargesheet was filed in a special CBI court in Mumbai.
The investigating agency has alleged that Mehta’s company purchased gold from three bullion banks abroad – The Bank of Nova Scotia, Standard Bank and Standard Chartered Bank – on the basis of guarantees from Canara Bank, reported The Hindu. This gold was later processed and sent to 13 buyers in the United Arab Emirates.
The Central Bureau of Investigation said the company failed to make the payment for the gold that had been imported on the strength of guarantees. The company allegedly defaulted on the payments under the pretext that export proceeds were not received from the foreign buyers, which resulted in invoking of guarantees by the bullion banks, causing a loss of Rs 146 crore to Canara Bank.
The CBI is also investigating a bank fraud by another diamond merchant, Nirav Modi, and his uncle Mehul Choksi for allegedly cheating the Punjab National Bank of more than Rs 13,000 crore