Conspiracy to cheat MSTC of about Rs.480 crore
Gold exporters, chairman and unknown officials of Pen Cooperative Urban Bank Limited and unknown officials of the Mineral Scrap Trading Corporation have been booked by the Central Bureau of Investigation on charges of entering into a conspiracy to cheat MSTC of about Rs.480 crore.
In all, 17 people have been named in the First Information Report so far. MSTC, having its corporate office in Kolkata, is a trading corporation involved in imports and exports and is a nominated agency for gold exports under the Foreign Trade Policy. It is alleged that in 2008-09, accused exporters fraudulently exported gold jewellery worth Rs.600 crore to various buyers in the United Arab Emirates. In lieu of the export, MSTC gave advances worth 80 per cent of the value of the invoice amounting to Rs.480 crore to the associate suppliers through real time gross settlement in their nominated bank accounts.
“However, as stipulated, the proceeds of exports that were to be received within 170 days from the date of export have not been received till date,” said a CBI official.
Sold in open market
According to the CBI, the accused conspired to cheat MSTC and allegedly exported gold to their own companies in the UAE. The gold was supposed to be exported to the Export Credit Guarantee Corporation authorised importers in the UAE against the letter of credit. However, in order to cheat MSTC the exporters in connivance with the importers allegedly sold the gold in the UAE open market fraudulently at a commission of 2 per cent and brought back the proceeds of sales to India through hawala channels.
The CBI official said the export proceeds were to be routed through MSTC to the exporters. As the money was allegedly brought in through hawala channels, MSTC was unable to recover Rs.480 crore, causing loss to the Exchequer.
The CBI sleuths conducted searches at 15 places in Kolkata, Mumbai and Ahmedabad and seized documents that are being scrutinised.