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CBI files two new FIRs in Jatin Mehta case

CBI files two new FIRs in Jatin Mehta case

New Delhi: The CBI seems to continue its onslaught on bank loan defaulters, registering two fresh cases against fugitive diamond merchant Jatin Mehta, of Winsome Diamonds and Jewellery, embroiled in a bank loan default case of nearly Rs 7,000 crore, bringing the total number of FIRs against the diamantaire to nine.

However, as the pile of cases against Mehta keeps increasing, the probe agency, which had reportedly said it is looking for ways to issue a Red Corner Notice against the defaulter, is yet to make a move in that regard. The Mehtas' names are as of now not on the Interpol's RCN list of wanted persons by India. The two new cases registered in the Bank and Securities Fraud branch of the Central Bureau of Investigation in Mumbai go on to implicate Jordanian national Hathyam Salman Ali Abu Obeidah, who was allegedly controlling 13 buyer firms in the UAE.

These complaints from Union Bank and the Bank of Maharashtra allege that Obeidah was controlling the 13 concerns through a power of attorney and had simultaneously decided to default on payments to Mehta's company.

Mehta's companies had purchased gold bullion from foreign banks against Standby Letters of Credit issued by a consortium of 14 Indian Banks and subsequently exported the gold to the companies allegedly controlled by Obeidah. The default on the UAE buyers' part eventually led to the bullion banks coming for the default amount to the banks that had issued the SBLCs.

Obeidah's connection to Mehta first came to light in April this year, when Bank of India had mentioned it to the probe agency.

The Central Bureau of Investigation had filed the first case against the diamond company in April 2017, when it received complaints from banks that had declared the company's accounts as Non-Performing Assets.

And while in 2018, a chargesheet was filed in the case, naming Mehta, his company, 15 public servants and three former executives of Canara Bank, the Dubai link in the case only came forward earlier this year, when the CBI had registered another case based on a complaint from Bank of India. So far the total loan default that CBI has registered cases against amounts to nearly Rs 2,100 crore.

Both Mehta and his wife had fled the country in 2016, just after the ED had issued orders for provisional attachment of some of their properties.

They acquired citizenship of St Kitts and Nevis in 2013, as reported by the Millennium Post last year. India does not have an extradition agreement with the Caribbean country.

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