Lucknow: A CBI court on Saturday handed over the custody of Rotomac pens owner Vikram Kothari and his son Rahul Kothari to the investigating agency for 11 days in connection with an alleged loan default to the tune of Rs3,695 crore.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Saturday produced the Kotharis in the court of special judge M.P. Chaudhari after bringing them in Lucknow on transit remand from Delhi. The judge first took them in judicial custody and later remanded them in CBI custody for 11 days. Both Vikram Kothari and his son have been booked for cheating a consortium of seven nationalised banks.
Vikram Kothari’s wife Sadhna Kothari is also accused in the case. The CBI arrested the father-son duo on Thursday in Delhi after the agency alleged the accused were not cooperating with the probe. On a complaint of Bank of Baroda, the CBI had registered an FIR against the Kotharis for allegedly defaulting on loans taken by Rotomac Global Pvt. Ltd from the consortium of banks from 2008 onwards. The banks had extended loans worth Rs2,919 crore to the company and the amount swelled to Rs3,695 crore, including the accrued interest, because of repeated defaults on payment by the company, the agency has claimed.
The CBI initiated the action on the complaint of Bank of Baroda, a member of the consortium led by Bank of India, which had approached the agency fearing that Vikram Kothari might flee India after billionaire diamantaire Nirav Modi and owner of Gitanjali Gems Mehul Choksi reportedly left India before the registration of a case against them.
Modi and Choksi are the two main accused in the alleged Rs11,400-crore Punjab National Bank scam. In the Rotomac case, the principal exposure of the banks regarding the loan is Bank of India Rs754.77 crore, Bank of Baroda Rs456.63 crore, Overseas Bank of India Rs771.07 crore, Union Bank of India Rs458.95 crore, Allahabad Bank Rs330.68 crore, Bank of Maharashtra Rs49.82 crore and Oriental Bank of Commerce Rs97.47 crore, the agency has said.
On Friday, a Delhi court allowed one-day transit remand to the CBI to take Vikram Kothari and his son Rahul to Lucknow to produce them before a court there in connection with the case, saying their presence in Uttar Pradesh was required to recover the alleged siphoned-off money. While seeking their transit remand, the CBI had claimed that it needed to recover the crime proceeds and unearth the larger conspiracy.
The agency sought the remand “to produce the accused before the competent court of M P Chaudhary, special judge, Lucknow, in the interest of justice". Advocate Pramod Kumar Dubey, appearing for the Kotharis, had opposed the CBI plea, saying the accused were “illegally detained".