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Kotak Mahindra and Axis Bank allege Rs 1,200 crore fraud by Cox & Kings, probe begins


(This story originally appeared in on Aug 09, 2020)

MUMBAI: A probe has been initiated into two complaints of alleged fraud to the tune of Rs 1,204 crore against travel company Cox & Kings Ltd. The complaints, which have been lodged by two banks — Kotak Mahindra and Axis Bank — are being investigated by the economic offences wing of the Mumbai police.

Director and group chief executive officer of Cox & Kings, Ajay Peter Kerkar, said: “It’s an inquiry.”

Already, a preliminary enquiry has been registered against the travel company on the basis of a complaint lodged by IndusInd Bank, which has alleged a default in payment of Rs 239 crore.

Now, Kotak Bank has stated that it has been extending financial facilities to the travel firm since 2012, and on June 24, 2019 the outstanding amount stood at Rs 174.3 crore.

One of the allegations is that the travel firm, through its subsidiaries and offshore companies, indulged in manifold transactions and siphoned off huge sums belonging to banks, financial institutions and public investors.

After default, the banks appointed M/s PriceWaterhouse-Coopers to do a forensic audit. Its two draft reports mentioned irregularities and fraudulent practices of some of officebearers of the travel company.

The first draft interim report also said that there was receivable Rs 449 crore from 15 parties and the bank had all reason to believe they were fictitious. These 15 parties had common addresses and were created on the same day in the travel firm’s system, police said. On a visit to the addresses, it was found that the parties were not located there.

As for Axis Bank, it has submitted a complaint that some office-bears of the travel firm and its sister concerns had availed loan facilities to the tune of Rs 1,030 crore and cheated the bank by not repaying. In both cases, FIRs are yet to be registered.


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