The country’s public sector lender State Bank of India (SBI) complained to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) that the owners of Delhi-based Basmati rice exporter Ram Dev International Limited for cheating the bank to the tune of hundreds of crores of rupees.
Directors of Ram Dev International Limited allegedly duped six banks for over Rs 400 crore and then fled to Dubai — in a case reminiscent of those of fugitives Vijay Mallya, Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi.
SBI approached the CBI four years after the directors of Ram Dev International Limited escaped from the country. The bank has known about this default since 2016.
The CBI had recently booked Ram Dev International and its directors Naresh Kumar, Suresh Kumar and Sangita, for allegedly cheating banks of Rs 414 crore. The sum includes Rs 173.11 crore from SBI, Rs 76.09 crore from Canara Bank, Rs 64.31 crore from Union Bank of India, Rs 51.31 crore from Central Bank of India, Rs 36.91 crore from Corporation Bank and Rs 12.27 crore from IDBI Bank.
The SBI had declared the loans given to Ram Dev International as NPA (non-performing assets) in January 2016 but it complained to the premier investigating agency of the country not before the current year. The SBI in its complaint claims that the accused forged the bank accounts and balance sheets to gain unlawfully at the cost of the funds of the bank.
The SBI said further that when in 2016, it conducted an inspection, the borrowers were not available. The bank was brazen enough to say in its complaint that they had known all these years that the defaulters might have run away from the country.
In its defence, SBI held that there was no delay in filing the complaint as the missing status of the accused could not be confirmed before 2018, but then it did not say what took it two more years to approach the CBI.
Ram Dev International had three rice milling plants and eight sorting and grading units in the Karnal district of Haryana. The SBI complaint says the company has offices in Saudi Arabia and the UAE for trading purposes.
Other members of the consortium are Canara Bank, Union Bank of India, IDBI, Central Bank of India and Corporation Bank, the SBI said.