New Delhi, Jan 2 : The CBI has begun its inquiry into an alleged bank fraud of Rs 3,269.42 crore against Delhi-based Shakti Bhog Foods Ltd and conducted raids at eight locations, official sources said on Saturday.
The Central Bureau of Investigation teams searched eight locations in Delhi on Friday, including office and residential premises of the borrower company and other accused, which led to alleged recovery of incriminating documents.
The agency had on December 31 last year registered an FIR against the firm, its Managing Director Kewal Krishan Kumar, and Directors Siddharth Kumar and Sunanda Kumar regarding alleged fraud played on a consortium of 10 banks led by the State Bank of India.
The FIR was lodged on an SBI complaint that the company directors had falsified accounts and forged documents to siphon off public funds.
Shakti Bhog Foods is a 24-year-old firm involved in the sale of wheat, flour, rice, biscuits and cookies. It had grown organically as it ventured into food-related diversification over a decade with a turnover growth from Rs 1,411 crore in 2008 to Rs 6,000 crore in 2014, the SBI said in its complaint to CBI.
The growth came to an abrupt halt in 2015 with the company account turned into a Non-Performing Asset and it was ultimately declared a fraud in 2019.
The account turned into an NPA on account of inventory losses owing to a steep fall in paddy prices, underutilisation of capital expenditure in rice and paddy segments and a delay in tie-up funds to tide over losses, an investigation report by the bank on staff accountability had noted in 2017.
A forensic audit done by the bankers pointed out that the company, in its account books of financial year 2015-16, showed that its inventory worth over Rs 3,000 crore got damaged due to pests and was sold at substantially low prices.
It was allegedly contradictory to the stock and receivable audit report, which showed that the company had a stock of over Rs 3,500 crore in September 2015, its warehouses were fully stocked and none of the inventory was obsolete or slow moving, the bank alleged in its complaint.
The report also said the company had an insurance policy for protection against fire, earthquake and other perils but no claims were made against damage to stock due to pests. The accounts also did not show any receivables owing to the sale of damaged stocks at low prices, it said.
The report also pointed out round-tripping of funds and suspicious payments made by the company, besides fudging of account books, the officials said.
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