Indian police arrest owner of pen maker Rotomac in bank probe

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CBI sources said that the Kotharis were arrested after three days of extensive questioning as they refused to explain the modus operandi used to befool the banks and how they used the money after getting it in their bank accounts.

These attachment of assets, they said, has been carried out to "recover outstanding tax demands" from the group, understood to be about Rs 85 crore. The banks involved are the Bank of Baroda, Bank of Maharashtra, Indian Overseas Bank, Union Bank of India, Allahabad Bank and Oriental Bank of Commerce.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) sleuths on Thursday evening arrested Rotomac Pens proprietor Vikram Kothari and his son Rahul Kothari from Kanpur in connection with alleged loan default of Rs 3,695 crore towards a consortium of seven nationalised banks. The questioning included his wife Sadhana, and his son Rahul as well.

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Kothari took a loan of Rs 485 crore from Mumbai-based Union Bank of India and a loan of Rs 352 crore from Kolkata-based Allahabad Bank. While the CBI registered a case against the Kanpur based businessman on Sunday evening, the Enforcement Directorate on Monday registered a case under Prevention of Money Laundering Act against him. The report adds the BoB complaint to the CBI states Kothari's bank "account is of high value in this fraud case, we apprehend that directors/guarantors of the company may try to escape from the country to skip from legal/criminal proceedings". Kothari had been declared a defaulter over a year back. ED also informed all the exit ways of the country to not let Kothari or any of his family members go out of the country.

In 1973, Vikram Kothari's father Mansukhbhai Kothari laid the foundation of a "pan masala" empire. Bollywood hearthrobs Salman Khan and Raveena Tandon were then its brand ambassadors. The loans to these banks amounted 2,919 crores.

This is the second major financial scam to break out after the sensational Rs 11,400 crore fraud allegedly committed by billionaire jewellery designer Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi, who is a promoter of Gitanjali group of companies.

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