Say, “defaulter” and the only name that pops’ up is of Vijay Mallya. Or now maybe Mehul Choksi and Nirav Modi.
But do you know who is the second most wanted man who has duped some 13 banks to the tune of Rs.6500 crore? Jatin Mehta of Winsome Diamonds. He is the second “most wanted” man when it comes to white collar crimes in India.
Yet no one is even talking about him or there is not even a passing mention. Mehta is now sitting very safe and secure in St.Kitts island, where citizenship is sold to such fugitives. His company, Winsome Diamonds and Forever duped banks in 2013 and now there is no way we are able to get hold of Mehta.
And as has always been our policy of bolting the doors of the stable after the horses have run out, a couple of months ago, even while knowing that Mustafa Baltiwala was Mehta’s right hand man, who knew everything, he was allowed to leave the country, Baltiwala is now absconding.
How did Winsome dupe the banks? It imported gold on standby letters of credit or guarantees issued by Indian banks in favor of international bullion banks which allowed the import of gold to Winsome and Forever. Mehta exported the gold to UAE where the gold was made into jewellery. Mehta apparently told the Indian banks that the gold was being exported to clients in UAE and he would repay the money to the banks the moment he received payment from the UAE clients.
Well, as expected, Winsome never paid and it laid the blame on the non-paying UAE clients. Winsome said that its clients had gone bankrupt. Once again, one cannot help but wonder how the banks could have been so naïve, nay, stupid? They not only allowed Winsome to use their money to import the gold but also allowed all the gold to leave the country. So Winsome got the gold and the money while Indian banks were left scratching their heads.
Another question which emerges is - Does CBI and ED learn no lesson at all? If Batliwala was such a critical man in this case Why was there no LookOut notice issued?
The worst thing we learnt is that the money was given to Mehta against no collateral. Unlike Vijay Mallya, there are no or very little assets against the bank’s exposure to Winsome. How was this allowed at all? Some things truly baffle the mind, especially when we are shown the red tape and long list of processes that need to be followed for even a Rs.1 lakh loan.
36 scamsters have already fled the country and we are left sifting through the muck, working relentlessly on extradition while the tax payers money gets wasted, time and again. While RBI and finance ministry continue with their blame game, we can only watch helplessly as banks get heisted.
But the biggest question of all, be it the UPA or BJP, scams never stop happening and our banks are left high and dry. Does this mean that our bankers are too gullible or its simply political pressure which makes them take such risks?
No processes or checks will keep the scamsters away; they are always 10 steps ahead. Unless we have a strong system of accountability and punitive actions, more and more such frauds will continue to plague India.