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Bank fraud: ED attaches Rs 14.5-cr assets of Gujarat firm

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New Delhi, May 25 (PTI) The ED today said it has attached assets worth Rs 14.5 crore of a Gujarat-based firm for allegedly defrauding SBI and Bank of Baroda (BoB) to the tune of over Rs 804 crore.

The agency said it has issued a provisional order for attachment of two immovable assets-- one located at Nariman Point in Mumbai and the other at Nikumbh complex in Ahmedabad-- under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) against Ms ABC Cotspin Pvt Ltd and its director Ashish Sureshbhai Jobanputra and others.

"The properties have been attached against the amounts remitted outside India," the ED said in a statement, adding that they were valued at Rs 14.5 crore.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) had taken over the case against the Gujarat-based firm taking cognisance of a CBI FIR.

The CBI FIR had alleged that Ms ABC Cotspin Pvt Ltd and its director entered into a "criminal conspiracy" with officials of the BoB in Ahmedabad and the State Bank of India (SBI) in Gondal (Rajkot), and defrauded the two banks to the tune of Rs 804.49 crore, the ED said.

The agency said the probe revealed that "the company was availing bill discounting facilities from the two banks against Letter of Credit (LC) of prime banks",

During 2014-15, it said, Jobanputra "without" making any genuine export got prepared and signed the export documents and presented them to the banks.

"The bank officials also discounted the export bills without proper scrutiny of the bills and without ensuring that shipping bills issued by the Customs authorities are provided for, which is mandatory and are available at the time of discounting.

"They (bank officials) also discounted export bills on the basis of LC issued by the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, which was restricted," it said.

Probe revealed that the company siphoned off Rs 79.49 crore out of India on the pretext of false import that "never" took place, the ED said.

The ED alleged that Jobanputra is the "master mind" of the fraud and that he along with his family left India soon after conducting these illegal transactions and has now settled in the US.

"Enquiries against Jobanputra are also contemplated under the Fugitive Economic Offenders Ordinance, 2018," the ED said. PTI NES NES ANB ANB

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