Chakrabarty a ‘Suspect’ in 2 Cases: CBI
Ex-deputy governor of RBI under lens in Kingfisher Airlines debt, Airworth cases
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.