Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Mallya loan fraud case: Air Deccan founder GR Gopinath under lens

New Delhi: GR Gopinath, founder of Deccan Aviation Ltd (DAL), is under the scanner of investigative agencies for his alleged role in the debt default by fugitive economic offender Vijay Mallya-founded Kingfisher Airlines, said people with knowledge of the matter. They are examining Gopinath’s part in signing the “instruments” through which the “diversion” of loans from State Bank of India was allegedly caused, they said.
Gopinath didn’t respond to queries and multiple attempts to reach him for comment.
He is also said to be on the CBI’s radar for “diversion of funds” through Axis Bank accounts. Gopinath was a Kingfisher Airlines director when the said loans were disbursed. He joined the board after selling Air Deccan to Mallya in 2007.
The agency is examining Gopinath with regard to a loan of Rs 340 crore sanctioned by SBI to Deccan Aviation. Gopinath had signed the instruments of diversion, as per the investigation. He was the authorised signatory for DAL. A payment of Rs 30 crore by Kingfisher Airlines to Gopinath in February 2008 is also being examined. That coincided with the release of Rs 29.96 crore by SBI to Kingfisher Airlines on February 1, 2008, said the people cited above.
The Serious Fraud Investigation Office, had in a 2017 report, raised questions over payment of Rs 30 crore in “non-compete fee” to Gopinath without disclosing it to stakeholders or the high court. SFIO had reportedly recommended to the corporate affairs ministry that several people directly involved in the transaction be charged with offences such as criminal conspiracy, cheating and forgery.
12/02/19 Raghav Ohri/Economic Times
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