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Amid increasing NPAs, agro firms come under agencies radar

With the rising number of such cases, now the entire rice and food industry is under the scanner of the central agencies. Some of them, which are under the agencies' radar, are Lal Mahal, Rei Agro, Best Foods, Amira Foods, Dunar Foods, Bush Foods, Shakti Bhog Foods and Sukhbir Agro.

NEW DELHI: In last few years, agencies such as Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Enforcement Directorate (ED) and others have exposed how a number of businessmen who deal in agro products allegedly committed fraud by not repaying bank loans and getting their accounts be declared a non-performing asset (NPA).

Many of them even fled abroad after committing the fraud.

With the rising number of such cases, now the entire rice and food industry is under the scanner of the central agencies. Some of them, which are under the agencies' radar, are Lal Mahal, Rei Agro, Best Foods, Amira Foods, Dunar Foods, Bush Foods, Shakti Bhog Foods and Sukhbir Agro.

Amira foods have been accused of a bank loan fraud of Rs 1,200 crore, Shakti Bhog is accused of Rs 3,269 crore fraud, Bush Foods of Rs 750 crore, Dunar foods (NSEL Scam) of Rs 5,600 crore, and Rei Agro have been accused of committing a bank loan fraud of Rs 3,871.71 crore.

Similarly, Anoop Gupta, director of KRBL, which sells India Gate Basmati rice, was named in a Rs 3,600 crore money laundering case linked to AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal.

According to reports, the loans to these companies were provided between 2005 and 2014, and now questions are being also raised on the period during which these loans were sanctioned.

Agencies are trying to figure out if there is a nexus of businessmen running agro businesses. Many of the firms have been declared bankrupt, and their loan accounts are declared NPA after the court proceedings and investigations.

As per reports, these agro firms were profitable till 2015 but all of a sudden, they went bankrupt after defaulting a few bank installments. It is said that the entire loan amount was laundered through different modes which was used in buying real estate abroad.

Reports say that around five lakh firms were shut down after demonitisation. The directors and owners of these firms failed to furnish required documents before the authorities concerned.

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