The State Bank of India (SBI) has moved a petition in the Gujarat High Court seeking impounding of passports of some of the office bearers of a Mumbai-based private firm who are alleged to have plans to leave the country without settling the loan of Rs1,450 crore from a bank consortium led by the SBI.
The bench of Justice R H Shukla issued notice to Union government, regional passport office, Airports Authority of India, Ministry of External Affairs and office bearers of Bhadresh Trading Corporation Limited (BTCL), which includes Bhadresh Mehta, Parth Mehta, Heena Mehta among others.
SBI’s petition says it had sanctioned loans to the firm in November 2008 under a consortium arrangement, and the firm now owes over Rs 1,450 crore.
The petition, moved by commercial branch, Rajkot, claims that from March 2016, BTCL has “failed to submit the monthly stock statement to the petitioner bank which is required to be submitted as per terms and condition of the sanctioned loan… That various communications made… for clearing of dues have also gone unanswered.”
Claiming that it sent legal notices to BTCL, the petition states, “…through various sources it has come to the knowledge of the bank that the directors of the company are likely to leave/abscond from the country with a view to avoid any kind of criminal/civil action which the bank will contemplate once the enquiry with respect to diversion of funds is completed.”
The SBI said the sanctioned loan is “public money” and therefore it would be an “ultimate loss of the public at large.”