OTHERS

Interpol helps nab defaulter in Indian Bank scam

NEW DELHI, JULY 6. In a significant breakthrough in the Indian Bank scam, the CBI today announced that it had got a fugitive, Mr. M. Vardarajalu alias M.V. Raja alias MVR, detained in France. He was alleged to be involved in a fraud to the tune of Rs. 468 crores caused by his companies to Indian Bank.

One of the major defaulters in the scam which caused a total loss of Rs. 1300 crores during the tenure of the then Chairman-cum- Managing Director of the bank, Mr. M. Gopalakrishnan, MVR was absconding for the last four years. A red corner notice was issued by the Interpol against MVR on the request of the CBI on November 18, 1998. His Indian passport had since been cancelled.

Announcing MVR's arrest in a suburb of Paris on Wednesday, the CBI spokesman, Mr. S.M.Khan, told newspersons here today that MVR was staying in France under an assumed name on a French passport. French authorities are also probing as to how he could get a French passport in the name of Louis Jalu.

The Interpol Wing of the agency was in touch with the French authorities and Interpol and MVR was arrested on July 4 and produced before a Magistrate at Nanterre, France yesterday who placed him under detention pending extradition to India. The CBI would soon send the extradition papers by diplomatic channels to the General Public Prosecutor Office in France.

MVR Group of Companies, headed by Mr. Vardarajalu, a native of Thiruvarur in Tamil Nadu, had taken huge loans from Indian Bank and never repaid them. Since the CBI took up the cases against nearly 13 companies of the group in 1997, he fled from Singapore where he was staying at that time. He has since been travelling under assumed names to places like Dubai, Hong Kong, Thailand, Netherlands, Costa Rica and Ivory Coast.

Mr. Khan said that MVR's ``nexus'' with the former bank chief was also subject of the CBI investigation and it was found that MVR never used the loan for the purpose for which the loan was taken from the bank. MVR was in the business of export of cashewnuts to Europe and the U.S. through Rotterdam.

The CBI has registered as many as 45 cases in scam of which chargesheets have been filed in 21 cases. The agency also has to submit status report to the Supreme Court which is monitoring the CBI probe into the scam. A majority of cases were registered in Chennai and Bangalore.