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Multi-crore bank loan fraud: ED arrests MD of Mumbai-based agro company in PMLA case

04:04 PM Sep 20, 2021 | Somendra Sharma

Mumbai: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has arrested Vinod Chaturvedi, Managing Director of M/s Usher Agro Limited and other group companies under Prevention of Money laundering Act (PLMA) in a case related to cheating and siphoning of bank loans. Investigation was initiated on the basis of an FIR lodged with the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Mumbai.

"CBI had filed an FIR in January 2019, against M/s Usher Agro Ltd., Vinod Kumar Chaturvedi, Manoj Pathak and others. It has been alleged in the FIR that the group has taken loan from consortium of banks and has siphoned off the same. During the investigation, Proceeds of Crime have been identified and quantified to the tune of Rs. 915.65 crore," the ED claimed in a statement.

"Further, investigation revealed that promoters had formed 15 shell companies and had carried out bogus transactions with these shell companies. Also, the group companies have carried out bogus transactions with DHFL group companies. During Investigation, Vinod Chaturvedi was non-cooperative and did not divulge any information. He was arrested on Friday and was produced before the court which remanded him to ED custody for five days," the agency's statement claimed.

M/s Usher Agro Ltd has its office at Laxmi Industrial Estate in Andheri (W). The company is also engaged in processing of raw white rice, par-boiled rice and steam rice of different grades of non-basmati variety, basmati rice and wheat products.

According to the CBI's FIR, “The company was sanctioned working capital and Term Loan facility by a consortium of banks, including IDBI Bank Ltd. The bank has alleged that the company had overstated the position of stocks and debtors during Financial Year 2015-16 for availing working capital limits from the said banks.”

“The bank has further alleged that mismatch was noticed in vehicle/lorry details in 1016 invoices out of total 9308 purchase invoices raised by several suppliers during 2013-16 and thereby the banks have been deceived. The company had routed sales realisation through accounts maintained with various banks outside the consortium during 2013-17 to cheat the lending banks. The company has squared off substantial value of unrelated debtors/creditors by creating separate set off/pull accounts by allegedly manipulating the books of accounts,” the CBI had alleged in the FIR.

“It is alleged that company’s directors have shown sales and purchases during 2013-16 confined mainly with 20-25 buyers and suppliers and also squared off substantial amounts of outstanding debtors with purchases under two way trade transactions with the same entities without obtaining confirmations from any of these entities to deceive the lenders. The Directors of the company had siphoned off the sale proceeds and funds obtained from the banks through deception and thereby cheated IDBI Bank Ltd and other lending banks to the tune of Rs 915 crore,” the FIR had stated.

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