CBI books Kamal Nath’s sister, nephew in Rs 787 crore bank fraud

Second case against Puri family by the CBI in the last 11 months

Agency Report | New Delhi | 27 June, 2020 |

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) booked former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath’s sister Nita Puri along with her husband Dipak Puri and son Ratul Puri in a bank fraud case to the tune of Rs 787 crore after it came to fore that the Directors of the Moser Baer Solar Limited (MBSL) instead of utilizing the amount towards the repayment of the consortium of banks invested a sum of Rs 696 crore in Helios Photovoltaic Limited (HPVL), managed and looked after by the husband wife duo.

The CBI had registered a case on June 26 against nine people including Dipak Puri and Ratul Puri. Beside father-son duo, the CBI has named Sunita Gupta, Deepak Khandelwal, Rajesh Khandelwal, Sunita Mowdgal all directors of the MBSL, Assistant Director Bernhard Hermann Gallus and Sanjay Jain, independent director of the firm.

The CBI has booked them under several sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Prevention of Corruption Act.

The CBI on Friday also carried out searches at seven locations in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh’s Noida and Ghaziabad and Madhya Pradesh’s Anuppur and seized several incriminating documents.

This is the second case against Puri family by the CBI in the last 11 months.

According to the Punjab National Bank (PNB) complaint filed with the CBI, it alleged that MBSL implemented a thin film project based on Amorphous Silicon of 40 MW.

The PNB complaint further said that the MBSL in order to further consolidate and strengthen business opportunities decided to install an advanced, high performance selective emitter high efficiency silicon cell manufacturing line with annual capacity of 90 MW and a matching module line.

“But in order to implement and efficiently run the project and its expansion from time to time, MBSL had been availing facilities from various banks under multiple banking arrangements,” the bank said in its complaint.

According to the CBI FIR, the MBSL took loans to the tune of Rs 264 crore, Rs 69 crore from SBI, Rs 128 crore from State Bank of Patiala, Rs 152 crore from Exim Bank, Rs 104 crore from Indian Overseas Bank, Rs 99 crore from Central Bank of India, Rs 50 crore from Union Bank of India and Rs 10 crore from Bank of Baroda and Rs 44.5 crore from Bank of Baroda outside CDR between 2007 to 2012.

The bank alleged that MBSL and its directors did not comply with the critical terms and conditions of the CDR package.

The banks have declared the accounts of MBSL with them as NPA from 2012 to 2015.

The PNB complaint also said that during forensic audit report of the MBSL by Haribhakti and Co. LLP pointed out huge irregularities and fraudulent activities.

According to the forensic audit report, the MBSL maintained accounts with multiple large banks outside the consortium and the sale proceeds generated from business or working capital funds lent were not deposited with the lending banks and were routed through banks outside the consortium thereby indicating the fraudulent intentions for siphoning of funds.

“The MBSL instead of utilising the amount towards repayment of the bank dues invested a sum of Rs 696.51 crore in HPVL, a related company which had been making losses since 2011-12,” it said.

The forensic audit report pointed out that Dipak Puri and Nita Puri are the directors of HPVL and the gross assets as of March 31, 2015 the gross asset of HPVL was only to the extent of Rs 455.86 crore.

It further pointed out that such investments were difficult to be recovered.

The forensic audit report further highlighted that MBSL made an interest free security deposit to the tune of Rs 135.5 crore to Moser Baer India Ltd (MBIL), a group concern for lease rental agreement.

“These security deposits were made on a much higher side as compared to the yearly lease rental paid for land, building utilities deposits and such security deposits ranged upto 58.82 times higher than agreed annual rent,” it said.

The complaint also highlighted that forensic audit observed that the material has been purchased from and sold to HPVL amounting to Rs 173.3 crore and Rs 93.4 crore respectively, the total purchase from HPVL were made 44.6 per cent of the total purchase of MBSL.

“The auditors verified that 71 sales transactions entered into with HPVL and noted that in 63 cases no supporting documents were available other than SAP invoices and no other documents were available and in one case only gate inward stamp and packing list were available than the SAP invoices such sales cover 15.97 per cent of the total purchase of the MBSL,” it said.

It further alleged that auditors verified that 37 purchase transactions entered into with HPVL and noted that in 25 cases no supporting documents were available other than SAP invoices.

“Thus it is crystal clear that all the above transactions were sham transactions, the MBSL, its directors and senior management have committed fraud and cheated the complaint banks thereby making a wrongful gain to itself and a wrongful loss to the lenders who are custodian of public exchequer,” it alleged.

In August 2019, the CBI had registered a case against MBIL and conducted raids at six places to nab its current and former officials for cheating the Central Bank of India to the tune of Rs 354.51 crore.

Nita Puri is the sister of former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath and Ratul Puri is his nephew.

Last year in August, Ratul Puri was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with money laundering involving the Rs 354 crore fraud with the Central Bank of India.

The ED had registered the case on the basis of the CBI FIR. Ratul Puri is also under scanner for allegedly receiving kickbacks in the AgustaWestland deal through his companies.