TN: CBI reveals Rs 18 crore gold scam in MMTC
By C Shivakumar | ENS - CHENNAI
24th July 2012 08:14 AM
A probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has unearthed irregularities in the Union government-run premier foreign trade behemoth, the Minerals and Metals Trading Corporation of India (MMTC), to the tune of Rs 18 crore. During the course of the probe, the investigating agency also seized 400 kg of gold from the premises of a private company alleged to have been favoured by MMTC officials.
According to documents available with Express, the FIR alleged that during the period 2007-09, at Chennai and other places, S Gurusamy, former chief general manager of south zone, MMTC Limited, Chennai Regional Office, V Gurumurthy, former general manager (Finance and Accounts), MMTC Ltd, and some unknown officials entered into a criminal conspiracy with Chennai-based Surana Corporation Limited (SCL) to cheat MMTC in bullion (gold and silver) trading.
“The officials abused their official position by extending undue favours to Surana Corporation Limited by intentionally omitting to debit and recover the difference in exchange rate from the firm thereby causing a loss to the tune of `18 crore,” the FIR says. During that period, SCL used to import gold and silver under the Stand-by Letter of Credit (SLBC) scheme. It used to deposit the cost of bullion arrived on the basis of a “notional price and notional exchange rate” prevailing on the date of delivery of consignments.
As per the system and procedure, SLBC transactions are routed through the online Bullion Trading System (BTS). However, the two officials along with others dispensed with the all-important BTS mode and made all transactions manually to allegedly favour the SCL.
“The officials deliberately treated the provisional invoice as final. They showed the difference in cost [difference between the provisional and the final invoice] as a variation in the purchase rate.” The officials manipulated the system and intentionally failed to reconcile the difference in exchange rate and to recover the premium and other accompanying costs, the FIR added.
Interestingly, the officials also “covered up” the wrongful loss to MMTC by allegedly showing a debit balance of `18 crore in favour of Foreign Vendors Account in their book of accounts.
Sources revealed that following the registration of cases against the officials for criminal conspiracy, cheating and for various offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act, CBI sleuths conducted raids in various places on June 20, 2012, including the residences of the officials, godowns and corporate offices of SCL. During the raid, CBI found 400 kg of gold kept in the premises of SCL. Besides this, the officials also seized cash.
The gold seized from SCL included gold bars, gold coins, chains, rings and bangles, brought into India without any valid documents, it is alleged. Interestingly, Gurusamy after his retirement from MMTC on June 2008 joined SCL as director while Gurumurthy, who retired on November 30, 2011, joined a leading jewellery firm in Chennai that bought gold from Surana.
MMTC is India’s largest foreign trade enterprise.
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