The enforcement directorate (ED) is planning to issue an attachment order to seize the properties of Winsome Diamonds and Jewellery Ltd., one of the country’s biggest bank loan defaulters —which owes over Rs 65,00 crore to 14 public and private banks, according to two officials privy to the development.
“We are in the final stages of preparing the attachment order pertaining to some of the assets of Winsome Diamond and Jewellery worth around Rs 200 crore. The properties proposed for attachment mostly include collateral kept with the banks,” said an official who did not want to be named. “We have had informal discussions with the ED on this but we have not received any official communication so far,” said a senior official of Winsome Diamonds. The banks which have an exposure to Winsome Diamonds include Punjab National Bank, Standard Chartered, State Bank of Mauritius Ltd, Export-Import Bank of India and Canara Bank, Axis Bank Ltd among others.
Emails and phone calls made to Winsome Diamonds did not elicit any response.
The ED order on Winsome Diamonds comes four months after the Prime Minister’s office (PMO) sent a letter to the enforcement agency asking it to submit an action taken report on certain bank defaulters including Winsome Diamonds.
Apart from Winsome Diamonds, the letter dated February 25, sent by the PMO directed the ED to submit its report on eight top bank loan defaulters and Shivraj Puri, the alleged mastermind of a Rs.400 crore fraud on Citibank. The Indian Express has reviewed a copy of the letter.
The loan defaulters mentioned in the letter include Zoom Developers Pvt Ltd, Tiwari Group of Companies, Surya Vinayak Industries Ltd, Deccan Chronicle Holdings Ltd, First Leasing Co of India Ltd, Biotor Industries Ltd, Surya Pharma Pvt Ltd, and Prime Impex Ltd. All these companies are under the scanner of multiple investigating agencies in the country. Some of these companies have even been classified as wilful defaulters by banks. Collectively these companies owe over Rs 16000 crore to banks. Earlier on July 3 , ED issued an order for attachment of a 1208 acre property of Zoom Developers worth Rs 1,000 crore in Soledad, California in connection with a case registered against the company under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
In case of Winsome Diamonds, the ED has also written to foreign countries asking for co-operation in probing the case said ED sources. “A substantial amount of money siphoned off by Winsome Diamonds have come back to India in the form of certain investments,” said an official. He declined to divulge the nature of these investments.
Punjab National Bank, the lead banker of the consortium has also filed cases against Winsome Diamond for recovery of Rs 900 crore and Forever Precious Jewellery and Diamonds Ltd which has defaulted Rs 747 crore. In both the cases, Jatin Mehta is the key promoter director.