Six FIRs against Winsome Group for Rs 1,530 cr fraud (Lead)

National |  IANS  | Published :

New Delhi, April 5 : The CBI has registered six FIRs against S. Winsome Diamonds Group and others for alleged fraud of Rs 1,530 crore involving loans given by a consortium of banks, an official said on Wednesday.

The Group, involved in diamond and gold trade through its three Dubai-based companies, has committed one of the biggest bank loan defaults.

"Winsome Group is alleged of defaulting Rs 1,530 crore loans given to it by Central Bank, IDBI Bank and Vijaya Bank," Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) spokesperson R.K. Gaur told IANS. 

The agency registered the cases against two Mumbai-based private firms-- Winsome Diamond Jewellery Ltd and Forever Precious Jewellery Ltd, its chief promoter Jatin Mehta and others on the complaints lodged by the banks on the allegations of cheating and criminal conspiracy.

"It was alleged that standby letters of credit (SBLC) were opened by the banks for the import of gold by the companies from foreign banks. Gold was imported to India, then was re-exported to 13 UAE-based buyers. When the companies did not honour the SBLCs, the Indian banks were forced to make payments to the foreign banks which led to the alleged loss of Rs 1,530 crore to the banks. 

"Central Bank was caused Rs 699.54 crore loss in one case and Rs 255.24 crore in other case; IDBI Rs 133.12 crore in one case and Rs 55.68 crore in other case and Vijaya Bank Rs 233.15 crore in one case and Rs 153.71 crore in other case," the official said. 

He said the role of bank officials is under probe. 

According to trade magazine Diamond Intelligence Briefing, three of the Dubai-based companies that had defaulted on their payments to Winsome Group in 2012, and which, in turn, led to the group defaulting on its loans from Indian banks, have been part of the parent group for a very long time. 

This contradicts the group's claim that the defaulting companies were third parties beyond its control, and thus the chain of events that set off the massive financial loss to the Indian banks was beyond the group's control.

Sources said that the group started defaulting on loans from the summer of 2013 and in October that year, banks notified their decision to term the group a wilful defaulter.

In 2014, the Central Vigilance Commission handed over the case to the CBI for criminal investigation.

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