Chakrabarty a ‘Sus­pect’ in 2 Cases: CBI

Ex-deputy gover­nor of RBI un­der lens in King­fisher Air­lines debt, Air­worth cases

The Economic Times - - Front Page -

Arun Kumar & Dheeraj Ti­wari

New Delhi: The Cen­tral Bureau of In­ves­ti­ga­tion (CBI) has al­leged that KC Chakrabarty, a for­mer deputy gover­nor of Re­serve Bank of In­dia (RBI), is a “sus­pect” in two cases, in­clud­ing one re­lated to the debt de­fault by Vi­jay Mallya-founded King­fisher Air­lines.

The in­ves­ti­gat­ing agency made this dis­clo­sure dur­ing ar­gu­ments ear­lier this month in the spe­cial CBI court in Delhi that was hear­ing Chakrabarty’s pe­ti­tion for the re­vo­ca­tion of a look­out cir­cu­lar (LOC), which stopped him from leav­ing the coun­try in May.

The sec­ond case, the one for which the LOC was is­sued, has been filed by Indian Over­seas Bank against a Delhi-based travel com­pany Air­worth Trav­els & Tours over ac­cu­sa­tions of forgery. Chakrabarty, who was deputy RBI gover­nor be­tween 2009 and 2014, de­nied all ac­cu­sa­tions of wrong­do­ing in a May 15 let­ter to the CBI di­rec­tor. He was chair­man and man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of Indian Bank from 2005 to 2007 and oc­cu­pied the same posts at Punjab Na­tional Bank from 2007 to 2009.

Dis­miss­ing his pe­ti­tion, the CBI court spe­cial judge Savita Rao said the pros­e­cu­tion’s con­cern that he may not re­turn from over­seas and es­cape jus­tice was le­git­i­mate.

CBI court dis­misses Chakrabarty’s pe­ti­tion for re­vo­ca­tion of cir­cu­lar that stops him from leav­ing In­dia

Chakrabarty, who’s be­come a UK res­i­dent, did not re­spond to queries emailed to him on Satur­day. His ad­vo­cate also de­clined to com­ment.

“We, ad­vo­cates of KC Chakrabarty, Shailesh N Pathak and Vib­hav Mishra of VSP Legals, de­cline to com­ment on the mer­its of the case ex­cept for the fact that KC Chakrabarty is com­pletely in­no­cent and the or­der of the lower court is based en­tirely on con­jec­ture and sur­mise, over which, we have a firm be­lief that it shall not sus­tain in ap­peal,” the law firm told ET in an email.

The court said Chakrabarty’s pres­ence was re­quired in the two cases.

“The ap­pli­cant had been sum­moned as wit­ness but it is stated by IO (in­ves­ti­gat­ing of­fi­cer of CBI) that the ap­pli­cant is the sus­pect and re­quired for fur­ther in­ter­ro­ga­tion as well as his pres­ence is re­quired for con­fronta­tion with records as well as with the ac­cused TK Bose and Gau­rav Mehra (pro­moter of Air­worth),” the Septem­ber 5 court or­der reads. “It is also stated that the ap­pli­cant (Chakrabarty) is also the sus­pect in an­other mat­ter i.e. RC/BDI/2016E0008 CBI Vs King­fisher Air­lines Lim­ited.” ET has seen a copy of the or­der.

Mallya is fight­ing ex­tra­di­tion from the UK to In­dia af­ter he was asked to re­turn to an­swer ac­cu­sa­tions of al­leged money laun­der­ing and fund di­ver­sion over .₹ 9,000 crore owed by King­fisher Air­lines to banks. Mallya left In­dia in 2016. Indian Over­seas Bank has fi- led a forgery case against Air­worth Trav­els, its pro­mot­ers and “un­named pub­lic ser­vants.” Based on this, CBI filed a first in­for­ma­tion re­port (FIR) in Septem­ber 2016.

“Con­sid­er­ing the ap­pli­cant (Chakrabarty) is re­quired for fur­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tion and also con­sid­er­ing his NRI sta­tus as well as the sub­mis­sion that he had joined the in­ves­ti­ga­tion af­ter lapse of sub­stan­tial time and af­ter is­suance of re­peated no­tices and also upon is­suance of look out no­tice, the ap­pre­hen­sion of the pros­e­cu­tion that he may not re­turn back and may flee from jus­tice can­not be dis­carded at this stage,” the court ob­served. Chakrabarty was stopped from trav­el­ling to Lon­don on May 1 at Mum­bai air­port be­cause of CBI LOC.

The cir­cu­lars are used to mon­i­tor and pre­vent the en­try or exit of per­sons who may be re­quired by law en­force­ment au­thor­i­ties.

In his May 15 let­ter, Chakrabarty said that his re­la­tion­ship with Air­worth and its di­rec­tor Gau­rav Mehra was re­stricted to the com­pany mak­ing his per­sonal travel bookings af­ter he left of­fice in 2014. “I have made pay­ments to Air­worth Trav­els & Tours Pvt Ltd. De­tails of my per­sonal book­ing are al­ready sub­mit­ted to the IO (in­ves­ti­gat­ing of­fi­cer) along with all pay­ment de­tails. In my of­fi­cial ca­pac­ity in both RBI and PNB, I have never dealt with him nor I have rec­om­mended for sanc­tion of any credit fa­cil­ity or fi­nan­cial sup­port in his busi­ness,” he said.

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