The CBI, in an affidavit, said it has approached 19 banks/financial institutions, out of which IDBI Bank, Bank of Maharashtra, PNB, SBI and IFCI Ltd. have responded to its query furnishing the status of declaration of the account as fraud and regarding filing of complaints with the CBI in case the account is declared as fraud. “Out of the aforesaid five banks, only IDBI Bank has submitted that it has declared the promoters/directors of Amtek Auto Lt as fraud on October 4 with the RBI however, it has not declared the company as fraud,” the agency said.
It added that it has asked the bank to revert with essential facts in its complaint for the CBI to be able to register an FIR.
On September 5 this year, the Supreme Court issued notice on a plea claiming glaring inaction by central agencies – the CBI, the ED, and the SFIO – into the alleged criminal theft and money laundering of the Rs 12,800 crore from over 27 public, government and listed banks by Amtek Auto Ltd, (AAL) and its promoters, directors, beneficiaries, and key managerial personnel through an elaborate system of over 127 related parties and several benaamidars.
The apex court is likely to take up the matter on November 3.
The CBI, in response to the petition, said the IDBI Bank, vide its reply through email on October 18, has that informed it that “IDBI Bank has declared the former promoters/directors of Amtek Auto Ltd. as ‘fraud’ on September 26, 2022 and reported the same to RBI on October 04, 2022”.
“Further in reply to the specific query whether complaint has been filed before any law enforcement agencies by IDBI Bank Ltd. or any other consortium member banks, the IDBI replied it as ‘In process’,” it added.
The CBI said: “Further, IDBI Bank. vide its e-mail dated October 25, 2022. submitted certain clarifications, as sought by the CBI stating that bank is in the process of finalising/filing complaint against former promoter/directors of the company, Arvind Dham (Promoter/Director of Amtek Auto Ltd), Deshpal Singh Malik (Executive Director of Amtek Auto Ltd.) and Gautam Malhotra (Non-Executive Director of Amtek Auto Ltd).”
It added that the company has since been resolved under IBC and Deccan Value Investors (DVI) has since implemented the resolution plan and taken over the management of Amtek Auto Ltd, hence the company has not been declared as fraud.
The CBI said in view of the ongoing SFIO investigation in the case, IDBI Bank requested Union Bank of India-UBI (lead bank) through various emails to convene a JLM (joint lenders meeting) to take a considered view in the matter.
“In the absence of any response from UBI, IDBI Bank proceeded with declaring of former promoter/director of Amtek Auto as fraud. Post declaration of fraud, a letter intimating declaration of the former promoters/directors of Amtek Auto Ltd. as fraud by IDBI Bank has been sent by IDBI to Union Bank of India (UBI)-Lead bank on October 18, 2022, advising Union Bank of India to call a JLM on an urgent basis in terms of the extant guidelines. The reply thereof is yet to receive from UBI. In the absence of any reply from UBI, IDBI intends to file an individual complaint in the matter,” said the CBI’s affidavit.
The IDBI bank, vide its e-mail dated October 25, informed the CBI that it is not the lead bank and for working capital (consortium), Union Bank of India (erstwhile Corporation Bank) was the lead consortium member, and for term loan, the State Bank of India was the lead bank.
The State Bank of India, through e-mail dated October 21, informed the CBI that competent authority of the bank has declared the account as a case of “no fraud” and it has been declared as NPA w.e.f. August 25, 2015 by the RBI in its asset quality review.
Speaking to IANS, petitioner’s counsel Jai Anant Dehadari said: “The CBI’s reply indicates in no uncertain terms that the erstwhile top management of Amtek was indeed involved in a massive conspiracy to defraud banks. The fact that IDBI has informed RBI about their classification of Amtek’s directors as ‘fraud’ shall now set the criminal justice machinery into motion.”
He added that the investigating agency must now explain to the Supreme Court what steps it is taking to unravel the larger conspiracy involving the multiple layers of shell companies which were used to layer and conceal proceeds of crime worth tens of thousands of crores of public funds.