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Ex-Maruti MD Khattar booked for Rs 110 cr bank loan fraud

New Delhi

24-December-2019

The CBI on Tuesday said it has registered a case against former Maruti Udyog Managing Director Jagdish Khattar in connection with an alleged bank loan fraud of Rs 110 crore by his new company.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has named Khattar and his company, Carnation Auto India Ltd, for allegedly causing a loss of Rs 110 crore to state-run Punjab National Bank (PNB).

Khattar and his firm have been named along with other unidentified persons in the recent FIR filed by the agency in the case on a complaint by the bank. Khattar was with Maruti Udyog Ltd from 1993 to 2007 and was the company's Managing Director before retirement. After almost a gap of around two years after his retirement, Khattar launched Carnation for which he got a loan of Rs 170 crore sanctioned in 2009.

As per the CBI's FIR, the loan taken by Khattar was declared a non-performing asset in 2015, with effect from 2012.

According to the FIR, a forensic audit, conducted by the bank through K.G. Somani and Company, reported that the accused borrower had dishonestly and fraudulently sold fixed assets costing Rs 6,692.48 lakh for a consideration amount of Rs 455.9 lakhs without approval of the bank. These assets had been furnished as security to the bank, but after the sale, the accused borrower did not deposit sale proceeds with the bank.

"It was also found that the accused borrower had dishonestly and fraudulently extended loans and advances to its sister concern/subsidiaries also. Thereby it has committed misappropriation of bank funds and has put them for own use," said the FIR.

The CBI will also probe the role of bank officials who played a crucial role in this conspiracy.

"The bank in its complaint on October 17, 2019, has mentioned the names of the five accused persons out of which three companies are guarantors, namely Khattar Auto India, Carnation Realty and Carnation Insurance Broking Company. However, during verification no role of guarantors in committing the fraud with the bank came to light as such they are not named in the FIR," added the FIR.

On his part, Khattar in a statement said that Carnation was a board managed company with the highest ethical standards and best management practices.

Furthermore, he said that some of the most reputed investors in the country, including Premji Invest and Gaja Capital were board members who, in their own interest, kept a tight vigil on its operations and finances.

The company was finally sold to the Mahindra Group.

Post its failure as a business, an exhaustive and detailed independent forensic audit at the behest of the bankers under a resolution professional was conducted by a leading independent auditor and nothing was found amiss, Khattar said.

As per the statement, having found no lapses in operations or financial management, the bank referred the matter to the CBI as a part of the process followed by them and that a search was conducted by the agency where nothing incriminating was found.

"I had invested my life savings in the company. I understand the bank is following a process. I have always made myself available and will continue to fully cooperate with all the agencies," he said.

"The claims being made were examined in great detail during the forensic audit and we provided satisfactory replies on each. We were cleared in the forensic audit on each count. I have no doubt we will be vindicated again once the investigation is completed." IANS