CBI arrests MSTC Ex-Chairman in fraud case

Mumbai: The CBI has arrested former top officials of Metal and Scrap Trading Corporation (MSTC) in an alleged gold export scam worth Rs 464 crore in the public sector undertaking by accepting forged documents from exporters, CBI spokesperson said today.

The agency arrested the then Chairman and Managing Director of MSTC Malay Sengupta and Chief General Manager Tapas Basu, CGM from Kolkata, and an insurance consultant S K Sinha from Delhi for their alleged involvement in the case. They have been sent to police remand till May 10. They had allegedly colluded with an insurance consultant S K Singh in 2006 to cause the loss of Rs 464 crore to the mini-ratna company.

"In pursuance of the criminal conspiracy, the six exporters submitted forged and fake documents. The three MSTC officials abused their official positions as public servants and allegedly accepted the said forged and fake documents and released 80 per cent of the export value to them," CBI spokesperson said in New Delhi.

As part of the alleged conspiracy, directors of six export houses — Ushma Jewellery and Packaging Export Pvt. Ltd., Space Mercantile Company Pvt. Ltd., K A Malle Pharmaceutical Company Ltd, Joshi Bullion and Gems Jewellery Pvt. Ltd., Bond Gems Pvt. Ltd. and Indo Bonito Multinational Pvt Ltd. –submitted forged and fake documents to get released 80 per cent of the export value to them, agency sources said.

"The accused officials of MSTC allegedly, knowing that documents were fake, accepted them as part of a conspiracy and released the export value to them causing a loss of Rs 464 crore to company", the spokesperson said. CBI had earlier arrested six accused Shishir Dharkar, the then Chairmen of Pen Urban Co-Operative Bank, his wife Gul Raihana Omer, Prem Kumar Sharma, the then Advisor of the Bank, consultant Rahis Ahmed, Jayesh Desai, Associate and Consignee at UAE and R Mani, Consultant based at New Delhi.

After registering the case last year, CBI had charged in a statement that the accused exporters fraudulently exported gold Jewellery worth Rs 600 crore to various buyers in the UAE. "In lieu of this export, MSTC gave advances worth 80 per cent of the value of the invoice viz Rs 480 crore to the aforesaid Associate Suppliers through Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) in their nominated bank accounts," the statement had alleged.

"However, as stipulated, the proceeds, which were to be received within 170 days from the date of export, have not been received till date. The accused conspired to cheat MSTC and allegedly exported gold to their own companies in the UAE," it had said. The gold was supposed to be exported to Export Credit Guarantee Corporation (ECGC)-authorised importers in the UAE against the Letter of Credit (LoC).

"However, in order to cheat MSTC, the exporters in connivance with the importers, had sold the gold in the UAE open market fraudulently with a commission of 2 per cent and brought back the proceeds of sale to India through hawala," it had said.