The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has lodged an FIR against a Vadodara-based jewellery firm and its director for allegedly cheating the Bank of Baroda to the tune of Rs 173.63 crore.
The First Information Report (FIR) was lodged on Tuesday by the CBI at its ACB-Gandhinagar office against Shree Mukt Jewellers Baroda Private Limited, its promoter-cum- director Harsh Soni and unknown persons.
As per the Harsh bank's complaint, Soni is absconding. In its complaint to the CBI, the Bank of Baroda accused the company, its director and others of "criminal conspiracy, criminal misconduct, cheating, forgery and diversion of public funds".
The company was into traditional gold and jewellery business in Vadodara and was sanctioned a Letter of Credit, cash credit and term loan facilities by the bank in 2013.
"But, it failed to repay the dues and the account became NPA (non-performing asset) in February 2016 and was declared as a wilful defaulter by the bank in 2018. The outstanding balance as on March 31, 2019, is Ra 173.63 crore," the FIR said.
Suspecting fraud, the bank conducted a forensic audit and learnt that "all the three suppliers with whom the company entered into transactions of buying gold and ornaments are related to each other", it said.
An internal investigation by the bank revealed that two of these suppliers were having common directors while two were registered on the same address.
One of the suppliers, M/s P Gold Pvt Ltd, was into real estate business and not gold, according to the FIR.
"The borrower company transferred Rs 38.02 crore and got back Rs 9.11 crore and diverted Rs 28.91 crore through P Gold Pvt Ltd. It is suspected that the borrower company has misused the Letter of Credit facility for routing funds and diverting funds of business," the FIR mentioned citing the forensic audit report.
It further said the company allegedly indulged in round-tripping transactions to show inflated turnover and funds were also transferred to accounts of other firms having common directors.