The CBI has registered an FIR against Rotomac pen promoter Vikram Kothari on the basis of a complaint from Bank of Baroda for allegedly swindling over Rs 800 crore, officials said in New Delhi on Monday. The agency started searching his residence and offices in Kanpur from early in the morning, they said.
There were no arrests in the case yet, CBI spokesperson Abhishek Dayal categorically said. He said Kothari, his wife and his son are being examined by the CBI, which is conducting the searches, PTI reported.
Earlier, there were reports that Kothari was "missing" from Kanpur with bank loan worth Rs. 837 crore. However, Kothari denied reports that he has left the country. The Kanpur-based company's owner had taken loans of Rs 352 crore from Kanpur branch of Allahabad Bank and Rs 485 crore from three other banks: Bank of Baroda, Indian Overseas Bank, and Union Bank of India.
Rajesh Gupta, Recovery Agent of Allahabad Bank, told ANI that the loan amount is being recovered from the attached properties of Kothari.
"Allahabad Bank has given loan (to Vikram Kothari) and recovery process is going on. Since properties are attached with loan, so we are hopeful that maximum loan will be recovered at the earliest."
When asked about the loan amount, Gupta said, "The loan is of Rs. 352 crore, which will be recovered through attached properties."
The Kanpur banks have put Kothari's loan amount under non-performing asset (NPA).
Since last week, Kothari's office in Kanpur's City Center road has been locked and he himself has been untraceable ever since.
Kothari on February 16 said that he has not done anything wrong and would not run away from the country.
"Yes I took a loan from the bank, but it's wrong to say I am not paying it back. I live in Kanpur and will continue to live here, I am not running away anywhere, no country better than India," Kothari said.
Kothari's lawyer Sharad Kumar Birla also rejected reports of fraud committed by his client, adding that it was a case of loan default.
"My client had borrowed a sum of Rs. 800 crore as loan for business purpose. The ongoing case involves no fraud; it is a case of loan default. I am yet to be given complete details of the matter at present," Birla told reporters here.
This comes after the PNB fraud case.
The PNB has lodged two financial fraud complaints of Rs. 11400 crore and Rs 280 crore against Nirav Modi, his family members and Mehul Choksi, the owner of Gitanjali Gems.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) filed a formal case charging four- Nirav Modi, his wife Ami, brother Nishal and Mehul Choksi- on January 31 over Rs. 280 crore fraud.
The Enforcement Directorate is conducting raids in many cities at various properties belonging to Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi.
The PNB scam has rattled nation as well as the government.
With Agency Inputs
For in-depth, objective and more importantly balanced journalism, Click here to subscribe to Outlook Magazine