Mumbai: In another stunner, a prominent diamantaire has allegedly defaulted repaying loans worth over a staggering Rs 6,710-crore to the government-backed private sector IDBI Bank Ltd, Mumbai, official sources said.
The outstanding amount also comprises a significant foreign currency component of more than $161,000, or roughly Rs 1.20 crore.
Banking circles describe it as the “second biggest” default of its kind notched by a diamond industry entity after the infamous Punjab National Bank scam of around Rs 14,000 crore involving Mehul Choksi and Nirav Modi – erupted in early 2018, shaking the country’s banking industry.
The IDBI Bank Ltd – owned by the Life Insurance Corporation of India, which is preparing for its much-anticipated IPO in early 2022 – has initiated measures to recover the outstanding monies from the defaulters.
The diamond company is Sanghavi Exports International Pvt Ltd, with headquarters in Bandra Kurla Complex, besides its 4 associate companies and 13 persons who are directors/promoters/guarantors, etc.
The Mumbai-based companies are: Sanghavi Diamonds Manufacturing Pvt Ltd, Sanghavi Jewelry Manufacturing Pvt Ltd, Sanghavi Star Retail Pvt Ltd, and Royal Estate Holding (India) Pvt Ltd, two factories in Surat and an office in Mumbai.
The directors named are the trio of brothers – Kirtilal R. Sanghavi, Chandrakant R. Sanghavi and Rameshchandra R. Sanghavi – all based in the diamond industry hub of Surat.
Besides there are other family members, men and women, from Surat and Mumbai, listed directors/promoters/guarantors – Kalpesh V. Sanghavi, Jayesh V. Sanghavi, Ketankumar V. Sanghavi, Virendrakumar K. Sanghavi, Aagam C. Sanghavi, Bharati V. Sanghavi, Nikita V. Sanghavi, Premila K. Sanghavi, Kalpana R. Sanghavi, Devika C. Sanghavi.
Indications that all is not well with the Sanghavi clan came way back in October 2018 when a consortium of lenders led by Bank Of India had seized the company’s properties in the Bharat Diamond Bourse, Bandra Kurla Complex, for allegedly failing to repay loans worth Rs 468 crore.
In a sharp reaction, banking authority and All India Bank Officers’ Association leader Vishwas Utagi said the new revelations are “truly astounding” and wondered why it remained under wraps till now especially since it had a poor past track record.
The IDBI Bank Ltd is owned jointly by the Centre and LIC almost to the tune of 97 per cent, yet it was accorded the status of a ‘private bank’ by the Reserve Bank of India in 2019, he pointed out.
“However, with such mega scams lurking in ‘the private bank owned by the government’, who will now be held responsible for the losses – the Centre, the LIC, or the IDBI Bank officials – particularly since the LIC IPO is coming up soon,” Utagi told IANS.
The banking expert demanded a thorough probe by the CBI/ED or other agencies and also to issue alerts to ensure they don’t sneak out of the country like the ‘Mama-Bhanja’ duo of Modi-Choksi.
Official sources confirmed that the IDBI Bank Ltd had served notices a couple of months ago to all concerned but there has been no response.
Diamond industry sources claim the Sanghavi clan has not left the country and are “very much present” in Gujarat and Mumbai, and even regularly seen in public.
Recently, the IDBI Bank Ltd followed up with public notices calling upon all the aforementioned entities and individuals to cough up the long-pending dues.
It has further warned the public to refrain from any kind of deals with them since the bank has to recover the huge amounts due from them.
Efforts by IANS to get a version from the IDBI Bank Ltd’s team did not materialize.
By Quaid Najmi