NSEL scam: Mumbai Police files chargesheet in Rs 5,600 cr payment default case, mum on Jignesh Shah

Written by PTI | Mumbai | Updated: Jan 7 2014, 15:17pm hrs
NSEL, Jignesh ShahJignesh Shah after his questioning by the Economic Offences Wing of the Mumbai Police in connection with the NSEL scam. PTI
Mumbai Police, probing the Rs 5,600- crore National Spot Exchange Ltd (NSEL) payment crisis, today filed a 9,100-page charge sheet against five arrested accused, including the spot exchange's former CEO Anjani Sinha - top honcho Jignesh Shah fails to find any mention in it.

"We have filed a charge sheet against the five arrested accused in the NSEL case at the Maharashtra Protection of Interest of Depositors Act (MPID) court. The probe in the case is not yet over. Some more charge sheets will be seen as the investigation progresses," said Joint Police Commissioner (Crime) Himanshu Roy.

The other four named in the charge sheet are Amit Mukherjee, former NSEL vice-president (Business Development); Jay Bahukhundi, another ex-assistant vice-president; Nilesh Patel, managing director of NK Proteins Ltd; and Arun Sharma, Lotus Refineries' CMD and a film financier.

However, the chargesheet did not mention the names of Jignesh Shah (promoter and director of NSEL), Joseph Massey and others who played key roles in the fiasco.

"One should not feel that we have given anybody a clean chit just because their names did not appear in the first charge sheet," Roy clarified.

"Jignesh Shah is also an accused in the case and fully involved in the scam. His name is also there in the FIR," he said.

Deputy Police Commissioner Balsing Rajput (of Economic Offence Wing) clarified that other accused who are not arrested in the case are turning up for the questioning as and when required.

"Nobody is untraceable and this is the reason why we did not mention anybody as wanted accused in the first charge sheet we filed today," the DCP said.

The value of over 200 attached properties of all the accused, including of those who were not arrested, and money lying in the 322 frozen bank accounts is collectively valued at a total of Rs 4,500 crore, which is 80 per cent of the scam value, he said.

The voluminous charge sheet included the list of attached properties of all the accused, frozen bank account details, information of physical stock available in the warehouses, statements of 297 witnesses, said Roy.

The charge sheet has also thrown a light on the modus operandi of the crime, how management was hand-in-glove with the defaulters, how certain borrowing companies appointed dummy directors, manipulation of books by various companies, Roy added.

With the EOW filing the charge sheet within 90 days from the date of the first arrest, it is difficult for the arrested accused to get bail.

Amit Mukherjee was arrested on October 9, becoming the first accused to held in the scam, followed by four others.

Though Sinha had taken blame in the affidavits filed before police regarding the NSEL fiasco, during police custody, he later blamed Jignesh Shah and others.

Sinha and other two NSEL officials have received a large amount of kickbacks from the defaults while two arrested borrowers-- also the biggest defaulters-- had taken money from the spot exchange with a clear intention of not returning them, police said.

Quote: Multi Commodity Exchange of India Ltd (MCX)

Some more arrests could be witnessed soon with some of borrowers were not cooperating in the investigation. The probe will also look into the roles of about 200 brokers now, police added.

The FIR was lodged on September 30 by EOW against directors Shah, Massey and others, charging them with cheating, forgery, breach of trust and criminal conspiracy, among other offences.

The spot commodity bourse, promoted by Jignesh Shah-led Financial Technologies India Ltd (FTIL), has been facing problems in settling Rs 5,600 crore dues of over 200 member brokers, representing 13,000 investor clients.

Police suspect equal role of brokers in the scam as many of them have sold NSEL commodities despite having knowledge of the fraudulent practices in the spot exchange.

The EOW has invoked Maharashtra Protection of Interest of Depositors Act, which empowers police to attach immovable assets of the accused.