Bank fraud: ED attaches Rs 143-cr assets of Chennai gold firm'

Bank fraud: ED attaches Rs 143-cr assets of Chennai gold firm'

The Enforcement Directorate on Thursday said it has attached fixed deposits (FDs) worth over Rs 143 crore in connection with a bank loan money laundering probe against a Chennai-based gold jewellery firm.

The Kanishk Gold Pvt Ltd sold jewellery in the brand name of 'Krizz' and is accused of defaulting on a bank loan of Rs 824 crore. The agency said it attached the Rs 143.58-crore FDs after a similar attachment of assets (plant and machinery) worth Rs 48 crore was made against the firm two days back.

The total attachment, in this case, is now Rs 191 crore, it said.

The SBI first sent a complaint to the CBI in this matter.

The ED office in Chennai issued a provisional order for attachment of the FDs under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). The agency said it found that an amount of Rs 300 crore was sent by the firm to a jeweller's account and there was allegedly "no evidence" of receipt of gold sale in lieu of the said payment.

Hence, they said, the FDs kept in this bank account were attached.

The Enforcement Directorate registered a PMLA case against the company and its executives after taking cognisance of a CBI First Information Report (FIR) registered last month.

"It was alleged that huge bank loans were obtained (by the firm) from a consortium of 14 banks with SBI as the lead bank for business purposes.

"Credit facilities are secured by the securities such as raw materials, semi finished goods, finished goods, stores and spares showing huge stocks.

"However, it was later realised that stock statements were fudged with the help of chartered accountants and on inspection by the banks in May 2017, it was found that no stocks existed and effectively all the operations came to standstill," the ED had said.

The Enforcement Directorate said a forensic audit report of the firm showed "there are misrepresentation/falsification of records, diversion of funds and disposal of the stocks by the company."

"The total loss caused to the banks due to the above fraud works out to the tune of Rs 824 crore which is outstanding as on December, 2017," it said. 

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