Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Former IDBI GM conspired with Vijay Mallya over short-term loan to Kingfisher Airlines: CBI

Central Bureau of Investigation HQ, in New Delhi. File

Central Bureau of Investigation HQ, in New Delhi. File
| Photo Credit: PTI

A senior IDBI Bank official allegedly conspired with businessman Vijay Mallya for sanction and disbursement of loan to the latter’s Kingfisher Airlines, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) said in its supplementary charge sheet filed in a Mumbai court.

Vijay Mallya is an accused in the alleged ₹900-crore IDBI Bank-Kingfisher Airlines loan fraud case, which is being probed by the CBI. The Central agency had recently filed a supplementary charge sheet before a special CBI court, in Mumbai.

As per the charge sheet, former IDBI Bank general manager Buddhadev Dasgupta abused his position, conspired with colleagues and Vijay Mallya in the matter of sanction and disbursement of short-term loan (STL) of ₹150 crore to Kingfisher Airlines in October 2009.

Along with 11 accused named in the earlier charge sheets, the CBI has added the name of Dasgupta in the supplementary charge sheet filed recently. As per the CBI, the STL was requested for six months to meet certain critical obligations to overseas vendors, including aircraft lessors and other service providers.

The said loan of ₹150 crore, as envisaged originally by Dasgupta (by proposal circulated among credit committee members) was to be adjusted/repaid from the aggregate loan of ₹750 crore originally sought by the airlines.

However, after circulation, there was change in the proposal to show as if the credit committee had treated this as a separate loan, which may (or may not) be adjusted/recovered from the aggregate loan, as per the CBI.

While the exposure of IDBI Bank was to be restricted to the aggregate amount of ₹750 crore, it rose to ₹900 crore in December 2009 due to this STL being kept as a separate loan largely at the behest of Dasgupta, the charge sheet said.

During the course of investigation, Letter Rogatory (LRs) had been sent to the United Kingdom, Mauritius, USA and Switzerland as per the permission of the CBI court. Courts of one country seek the assistance of courts in another nation for the administration of justice there through LRs. The charge sheet also mentioned the evidence collected during foreign investigation from these countries.

“The properties at the U.K. (Ladywalk in 2015-16 for GBP 12-13 million or ₹80 crore) and France (Le Grand Jardin in 2008 for Euro 35 Million or ₹250 crore approximately) were acquired by Mallya even as Kingfisher Airlines was facing severe cash crunch (2008),” the charge sheet said.

“Mallya was having adequate funds at his disposal between 2008 to 2016-17, but none of it was brought to support the airlines as equity infusion or to honour his obligations as personal guarantor for the loans availed by KAL from IDBI and other banks in India,” it added.

The charge sheet, citing the evidence collected through LRs, said sizable amounts were transferred to Force India Formula 1 Team between 2008 to 2012.

The charge sheet further said significant amounts were diverted between 2007 to 2012-13 to make payments towards acquisition and repayment of loan for a corporate jet used personally by Mallya.

These acts on the part of Mallya clearly show he caused diversion of funds for the corporate jet, Force India Formula One Racing Team, and other such extravagant expenses, and then wilfully defaulted on the loans availed by Kingfisher Airlines, the charge sheet stated.

The aforesaid facts disclose commission of offences such as cheating and criminal conspiracy and others under Indian Penal Code and Prevention of Corruption Act provisions against Mallya, Dasgupta and other accused, as per the CBI. Apart from the CBI, the Enforcement Directorate is also probing a money-laundering case against Mallya.

On January 5, 2019, a special court in Mumbai had declared Mallya a ‘fugitive’ under the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act. Under the provisions of the Act, once a person is declared a fugitive economic offender, the prosecuting agency has the powers to confiscate his property.

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