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Bank officials, businessmen arrested for fraud

Mumbai, Nov 26 (IANS) Top officials of the Raigad-based Pen Urban Co-Operative Bank and some businessmen have been arrested for cheating the state-run Metals Scrap Trading Corporation and the bank of Rs.4.8 billion (Rs.480 crore) in the gold jewellery exports scam, an official said Friday.

The scam was busted by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

Bank chairman Shishir Dharkar and his wife Gul Raihina, bank’s director Prem Kumar Sharma, Joshi Bullion Gems and Jewellery Private Ltd director Jayesh Desai, Strategic Consultancy partner Rahis Ahmed, and R. Mani, consultant and proprietor of Great Aid, were arrested Thursday, a CBI official said.

According to the CBI, in the year 2008-2009, six export firms exported gold jewellery worth Rs.600 crore to various buyers in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The firms were: Ushma Jewellers and Packing Exports, Space Mercantile Company, K.A. Malle Pharmaceuticals, Joshi Bullion and Gems Jewellery, Bond Gems and Indo Bonito Multinational.

The six firms submitted forged and fake documents for the transactions which certain officials of the MSTC accepted and released 80 percent of the export value (Rs.480 crore) to them as per an earlier memorandum of understanding signed between them.

However, instead of diverting the proceeds of the exports earned to the MSTC, the money was diverted and deposited in the accounts of Ushma Jewellery and Packing Export, Space Mercantile Company and Joshi Bullion and Gems Jewellery.

The six accused were brought before a special CBI court Friday and remanded in custody till Dec 6. Further investigations are continuing in the case.

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