MUMBAI, JULY 2018 (GPN) : Big businesses have looted the Indian banking system of thousands of crores leaving it highly vulnerable in the wake of rising NPAs. But latest developments suggest that the scenario is now changing swiftly in favour of Indian banks. Led by efforts of the Government to bring to book fugitive elements who have looted and left the country seeking safe havens elsewhere, Indian banks are looking at recovering their funds very soon.
The promulgation of the Fugitive Economic Offenders Ordinance 2018 which provides for confiscating properties and assets of economic offenders including loan defaulters who flee the country and the rigorous follow-up with foreign legal systems to get culprits charged with economic offences in India back have finally began bearing fruit.
In a first, a UK court has ruled in favour of Indian banks permitting enforcement officers to enter the properties belonging to Vijay Mallya near London and seize assets. That brings the consortium of Banks closer to the Rs 9,000 crore they had lent to Mallya. This also puts on the higher side the probability of Mallya being extradited to India to face trial for the financial irregularities, including money laundering with which he has been charged with.
All other offenders in a similar category will now be wary, expecting action that could bring them back to India to face the law. This portends well for the Indian banks reeling under the tremendous stress of bad loans. The Mallya’s and Modi’s of the world seem to be the proverbial tip of the iceberg considering that there are many other cases, some strikingly similar to each other, which form the sum total of the outstanding amounts towards Indian banks.
Consider this. Shree Ganesh Jewellery House (I) Ltd, a Kolkata-based, company has cases filed against its promoters by various law enforcing agencies. The first is an FIR filled by the Regional Office of the State Bank of India in Kolkata for having forged documents for the purpose of availing loans from 20 nationalised banks to the tune of Rs 2,223 crore. The second is an equally intriguing case filed by the Department of Commerce with the DRI alleging violation of FEMA by failing to have achieved exports against the benefits it claimed for imports at its Unit set up in the SEZ.
Ironically the brain behind the fraud of Shree Ganesh is the flamboyant 51- year old promoter Umesh Parekh.A declared absconder, Umesh is dubbed to be the brain behind all the loan | financial liaisoning with banks along with Nilesh Parekh, Chairman of Shree Ganesh Jewellery House (I) Ltd.
According to sources in the know, Umesh is the mastermind and the key player in laundering funds out of India from the company. He is presently absconding, his name included in the list of fugitives. In a striking similarity to Mallya, Umesh has been living a flamboyant life with reportedly having 3 wives (all Indian), one in India (Kolkata) and the other 2 in Dubai and Kenya respectively. Possessing a St Kitts passport he is currently lives a lavish lifestyle out of Dubai and Kenya. He reportedly owns a house in Palm Jumeirah and another one in Arabian Ranches and a 3-bedroom Yatch; all of which have reportedly been purchased only recently. He also has a business running out of Kenya. He drives a Rolls Royce which he bought at age 45 and has always been based out of Kolkata until recently when he fled the country considering the dangers of his financial impropriety. His children reportedly continue to be in India.
The Mallya ruling in London would surely have sent shivers down the spines of the likes of Umesh Parekh who until now had been seeking safe haven in countries abroad after having looted banks in India. The system seems to have woken up to the perils of letting off financial offenders in the past and will surely get its hand on the likes of Umesh very soon. Until then, it would be prudent enough to seek an attachment of all properties (the Phantom included) to salvage and recover whatever possible of the exchequers dues.