Delhi-based company, others booked for ₹1,201-cr. fraud

Central Bureau of Investigation HQ, in New Delhi.   | Photo Credit: PTI

The CBI has booked Delhi-based Amira Pure Foods Private Limited and its directors for allegedly indulging in cheating and fraud, causing a loss of ₹1,201.85 crore to a consortium of 12 banks.

Amira Pure Foods is the subsidiary of Amira Mauritius, which is wholly held by Amira Nature Foods Limited registered in the British Virgin Islands with headquarters in Dubai. The company, which has a plant in Gurugram, is into export of agro commodities and has clients in Mauritius, New Zealand, the U.S., Canada and the United Arab Emirates.

Among those named as accused in the FIR are its promoter and chairman Karan A. Chanana, Anita Diang, Aparna Puri, Rajesh Arora, Jawahar Kapoor and Akshay Srivastava. They allegedly misappropriated and diverted the loans extended by the Canara Bank-led consortium, which also included the Yes Bank, using shell entities.

According to the Canara Bank, the fraud came to light during a forensic audit in May 2019, which revealed alleged falsification of the account, stock books and forgery of documents.

Amira Pure Foods was the lead bank’s client since 1995. In 2009, 11 other banks formed a consortium with the Canara Bank to extend credit facilities to the company, after it approached them for funds. The loan accounts became non-performing assets in November 2016. The company requested for “holding operation [temporary measure to prevent the situation from getting worse]”, which was allowed.

However, as alleged, it failed to pay the interest, did not submit financial and other statements, and routed transactions outside the consortium. The accounts again turned non-performing assets in 2017.

The audit report revealed that the company had transacted substantially with its related parties and entities. It diverted ₹734.20 crore through non-genuine business and sham transactions with 11 shell companies, as alleged. During the physical inspection of its plants and godowns, the auditor found that they were not operational for the past few months. The inventory belonged to third parties.

There was no such stock as shown in the books of account and stock statements. A substantial part of the inventory was created on the basis of ‘accommodation’ purchases through paper entities, said the FIR.

As it turned out, the company had also opened letters of credit to the tune of ₹571.82 crore in the name of six entities, without any actual movement of goods. It also inflated purchases and sales through multiple layers of paper entities, owned, operated and controlled by inter-connected group of persons linked to the company.

The Canara Bank alleged that the export turnover of the company’s own subsidiaries could be false, particularly in respect of export sales made to Dubai subsidiary. Import transactions worth ₹213.05 crore in 2015-16 were also suspected to be dubious, raising suspicion that funds were diverted overseas.

Besides, the auditors suspected re-routing of borrowed funds shown as the promoter’s contribution.

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2021 10:22:16 AM |

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