The management at the International Mega Food Park Ltd, with has its registered office at Sector 5 in Chandigarh, round tripped the funds via five associate concerns (related companies) for allegedly orchestrating a fraud of Rs 33 crore – the amount it had taken as loan from the Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI), as per the FIR lodged by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
The term ‘round-tripping’ denotes a trip where money returns to the place from where it was moved through channels such as inflated invoices, or payments to associate firms.
The CBI has booked the IMFPL owner Sukhinder Singh for allegedly orchestrating the fraud. The FIR was registered on the complaint of Pankaj Kumar Sahu, deputy general manager, SIDBI, Chandigarh, on June 30. The FIR names promoters and directors of IMFPL, including Sukhinder Singh, his wife Kanwal Sukhinder Singh, son Simarinder Singh, and others. Sahu has informed the CBI that SIDBI has also initiated internal “staff accountability exercise” for establishing the involvement of any bank employee in the fraud.
The companies mentioned in the FIR include M/s International Fresh Farms Products India Ltd (IFFPIL), M/s Nalagarh Chemicals Pvt Ltd (NCPL) having their registered address at House No. 3, Sector 5, and M/s Punjab Metallics Pvt Ltd (PMPL), with its registered office at village Channo, Bhawanigarh in Punjab.
For detecting the fraud, forensic audits of the documents and transactions conducted by all these companies, SIDBI hired a Sector 17-based firm, which concluded that “tantamount to round tripping of funds” were made by the borrower company, which is IMFPL, as per the FIR.
The FIR states that the fraud, involving forging bills of industrial machinery, was carried out by the IMFPL through its machinery supplier, Food & Biotech Engineers Pvt Ltd.
First, Nalagarh Acids Pvt Ltd (NAPL), one of the associate concerns of the IMFPL, received Rs 100 lakh from the machinery supplier in September, 2014; and Rs 20 lakh from M/s PMPL in October, 2014 and invested the money in the Equity Capital of the IMFPL, which was the borrower company.
Second, Punjab Metallics Pvt Ltd (PMPL), another associate concern of the IMFPL, received Rs 50 lakh from the machinery supplier in February 2015, which was paid to Sukhinder Singh the same month. He transferred the amount to the borrower company, IMFPL, in February 2015.
Third, the PMPL received Rs 30 lakh from the machinery supplier in September 2015, out of which Rs 20 lakh was transferred to the borrower company as unsecured loan the same month.
Fourth, the SNS Corporation Pvt Ltd, also an associate concern of borrower company (IMFPL), received Rs 90 lakh from machinery supplier on the project of IMFPL in September 2015 which was transferred to IFFPIL in three parts – Rs 50 lakh, Rs 25 lakh and Rs 15 lakh – as unsecured loans. IFFPIL then transferred these amounts to the borrower company on the same dates.
The FIR has been registered under Section 420 (cheating), 467 (forgery of valuable security), 468 (forgery for the purpose of cheating), 406 (criminal breach of trust), 471 (electronic fraud) and 120B (criminal conspiracy) of IPC.