Manjit Singh Makhni, the Director of Punjab Basmati Rice Ltd, has skipped the country after defrauding a Canara bank-led consortium of six banks to the tune of around Rs 350 crore, sources told NDTV. Manjit Singh Makhni is now in Canada, the sources said.
On the basis of a complaint by the bank, the Central Bureau of Investigation has registered a case against the Amritsar-based Punjab Basmati Rice Ltd and its Directors Manjit Singh Makhni, his son Kulwinder Singh Makhni, his daughter-in-law Jasmeet Kaur and unknown public servants for allegedly cheating six banks.
In the First Information Report, the agency gave a break-up of the dues: “Rs 175 crore with Canara Bank, 53 crore Andhra Bank, 44 crore with UBI, 25 crore with OBC, 14 crore with IDBI and 41 crore with UCO Bank.”
In its complaint, Canara bank said the firm had availed credit facilities from it since 2003. In 2012, they opted for a consortium arrangement. The banks included were Andhra Bank, IDBI, OBC, UBI and UCO Bank and the consortium was led by Canara bank.
“As the company defaulted in the repayment of principle debt and installments, the account was classified as NPA by Canara bank on 25.04.2018; Andhra Bank on 31.03.2018; OBC on 27.6.2018; IDBI on 31.3.2018; UBI on 30.4.2018 and UCO bank on 31.3.2018,” the agency’s FIR read.
In March last year, after making its own investigations, the bank reported the alleged fraud to the Reserve Bank. While the bank was advised to file the complaint with CBI in March last year, it filed the complaint with the central agency in June this year.
The agency also alleged that the accused had committed fraud by “disposing of the stock and primary security” without the approval from the banks. They also did not repay their debts from the proceeds.
Joint inspection by the bank found that rice stock worth Rs 291 crore, which is part of the security for the credit facility, was removed and invoices were not submitted by the company to substantiate its claims of stocks having being sold out. “These sales do not appear to be genuine,” the bank has said in its complaint.
“After registration of the case, the agency is conducting searches at the premises of the accused, including the companies at Amristar,” the CBI said in a statement.
“The Canara bank, in its complaint, said as per their source information, Manjit Singh Makhni has left for Canada long before they filed their complaint, which was dated June 1. The agency will take necessary steps to bring back the accused,” sources in the CBI said.
“Manjit Singh Makhni has left the country in the beginning of 2018. Once Canara bank got the information, passports of all three accused and Manjit Singh were revoked in September 2018,” sources told NDTV.
“It is a purely civil dispute and the company has already moved NCLT for initiation of insolvency process and the company is under liquidation. I can’t comment anything about this criminal proceedings initiated by CBI,” Jyoti Sareen, counsel for Kulwinder Singh Makhni, told NDTV.