CBI books SEL Textiles Ltd, directors for cheating consortium of banks to the tune of ₹1,530 cr

PTI New Delhi | Updated on August 17, 2020

The audit showed irregularities on the part of SELT but the company did not provide some critical information to auditors

The CBI has booked Ludhiana-based SEL Textiles Ltd (SELT) and its directors for allegedly cheating a consortium of 10 public sector banks to the tune of ₹1,530 crore, officials said on Monday.

The directors of the conglomerate Ram Sharan Saluja, Neeraj Saluja and Dhiraj Saluja have also been named as accused in the CBI FIR along with unidentified others, they said.

The CBI has acted on a complaint from the Central Bank of India which has alleged that SELT and its directors indulged in a criminal conspiracy to defraud the banks and divert the loan funds to misappropriate them between 2009-13, causing a loss of ₹1,530 crore to 10 public sector banks of the consortium, officials said.

The bank has said while Ram Sharan Saluja and Neeraj Saluja are based in India, Dhiraj manages the overseas business of the company and lives abroad.

It has requested the Central Bureau of Investigation to impound the passports of the accused to prevent them from leaving the country.

The Central Bank of India had declared the account as a non-performing asset in 2014 and later other banks also followed, they said.

The company sought corporate debt restructuring (CDR) during which the banks conducted a special investigative audit.

Large scale diversion of loan funds

The audit showed irregularities on the part of SELT, but the company did not provide some critical information to auditors due to which they could not verify most of the details, they said.

The bank alleged that even after that, the CDR package financials of the company did not improve.

After the declaration of NPA, the banks conducted a forensic audit which revealed large scale diversion of loan funds, the FIR alleged.

“Opaque and recalcitrant approach towards lenders and inadequate disclosures during the forensic audit give credence to wilful default impressions,” the audit report concluded.

It said company allegedly diverted short term funds for long term uses as well as diverted funds for acquiring unproductive assets, creating a new chain of intermediary for purchases beyond its capacity owing to weak financials, the FIR alleged.

In its complaint, now part of the FIR, the bank has alleged that SEL Manufacturing Co Ltd (SELM), the parent company of SELT contributed ₹380 crore.

The audit showed that there was no actual contribution and it was facilitated through the “round-tripping” of entries of sales and purchases and adjustment of third party accounts, it alleged.

The bank also underlined alleged trading in related companies, diversion of funds and misuse of funds for purposes other than loans were sanctioned, officials added.

Published on August 17, 2020

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