Just days after Punjab National Bank unearthed the biggest scam in the banking history of India, the CBI has now registered another case of bank fraud, this time against industrialist Vikram Kothari, promoter of Rotomac pens for allegedly duping the banks of more than Rs. 3,700 crore.
The fraud came to light after Bank of Baroda, who lent Rs. 456 crore to Rotomac registered a complaint against Kothari. The probe revealed that the businessman has taken loans from a total of seven banks including Allahabad Bank, Bank of India and the Union bank of India among others.
“It was alleged in the complaint that in the Rotomac case, conspirators cheated a consortium of 7 banks by siphoning off bank loans to the tune of 29.19 billion rupees (principal amount),” an official with the CBI said.
Mumbai-based Union Bank of India and Kolkata-based Allahabad Bank extended loans worth Rs. 485 crore and Rs. 352 respectively to Kothari. According to sources, Allahabad Bank, Bank of India, Bank of Baroda, Indian Overseas Bank and Union Bank of India bent their regulations to sanction loans to the company.
Vikram Kothari has not paid back the interest or the loan amount and in 2015, Bank of Baroda already wrote-off the loan as non-performing asset (NPA) and declared Rotomac as a “willful defaulter” last year. The company then went to the Allahabad High Court seeking removal of its name from the list of willful defaulters.
CBI spokesperson Abhishek Dayal said that there have been no arrests in the case so far but Vikram Kothari’s wife and son are being questioned by the CBI. Raids were also conducted in three premises linked to Kothari and his residence and one of his offices has been sealed.
Vikram Kothari issued a statement saying, “First of all, it is not a scam. I am not going anywhere. I am an Indian citizen and am very much in my hometown. Though banks have declared my company as a non-performing asset (NPA), I am not a defaulter. The matter is still sub judice with the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT). I am regularly in touch with the banks and am constantly cooperating with them. I availed the loans and will repay them soon.”