CBI hands over city-based fruit processing company for fraud

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The Central Bureau of Investigation hired a fruit processing company based in the city for deceiving three banks out of ₹217.16 crore.

Acting on a complaint filed by a consortium of banks led by the State Bank of India, the economic crimes wing of the CBI filed a complaint against M/s Oceanic Tropical Fruits Private Limited, its directors A. Joseb Raj, Vimala Joseb and James Walter for entering into a criminal conspiracy to deceive the SBI, ICICI and the Central Bank of India.

The agency said in its First Information Report (FIR) that company directors misappropriated loan funds, falsified/fabricated books of accounts, and misused borrowed funds. They also diverted the company’s claims to other companies by submitting fake vouchers and funneled the money through other banks without the consent of the bank consortium.

The SBI said in its complaint that M/s Oceanic Tropical Fruits Private Limited, promoted by its directors, was engaged in the processing of fruits such as mangoes, guavas and papayas in addition to the manufacture of tomato paste with packaging. aseptic in drums and boxes. The company had its processing and manufacturing facilities in Marakkanam, near Pondicherry, and Annur, near Chittoor, Andhra Pradesh. In 2011, he also entered into a contract with M/s PepsiCo India Holding Private Limited to work as a co-worker for one of their soft drinks for a period of 10 years.

Forensic Audit

After the company approached banks for funding, SBI (then State Bank of Travancore), ICICI and Central Bank of India sanctioned ₹178.45 crore, ₹75.88 crore and ₹20 crore respectively . After the banks categorized the company’s loan accounts as non-performing assets, an external audit firm was commissioned to investigate the fraud angle.

It was found during the investigation that the transactions on the bank statement were not traceable in the company’s account book. There was a potential inconsistency in purchase transactions and an unusual transfer of funds to other companies. The forensic auditor observed an upward revaluation of fixed assets (buildings and machinery) to the tune of ₹67.41 crore.

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