Sucheta Dalal :Home Trade scam: still waiting for justice
Sucheta Dalal

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Home Trade scam: still waiting for justice   

June 10, 2009

The arrest of Nationalist Congress Party’s (NCP) Member of Parliament (MP) Padmasinh Patil has raised more questions than answers. The main question is, why was Patil desperate to get rid of his cousin and one time right-hand man Pawan Raje Nimbalkar, that too when Nimbalkar was already implicated in number of cases by Patil and also jailed for six months?

 

One has to go back to the mostly forgotten Home Trade scam. Nimbalkar was one of the accused along with NCP's Sunil Kedar, the then president of Nagpur District Central Co-operative Bank (NDCCB). What happened to these politicians is well known, but the real question is what happened to the company itself or where are the Home Trade promoters?

 

Navi Mumbai-based Home Trade Ltd was launched in 2000 accompanied by Rs240 million advertising blitzkrieg with cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar and film stars Shah Rukh Khan and Hrithik Roshan to endorse its portal.

Home Trade's modus operandi was very simple. It claimed to be a professional firm dealing in government securities (Gilts) and would lure the general public, brokers, sub-brokers dealing in Gilts. But the government securities never existed and were actually bought from some third party and the whole deal was meant just a show on paper only.

 

Home Trade scam was unearthed after NDCCB lodged a complaint of non-delivery of Rs1.24 billion Gilts it had bought through Home Trade. The then Union Finance Minister, Yashwant Sinha, made a statement that the scam was worth Rs2.75 billion, but it later transpired that it could be much bigger. The investigation was later handed over to the CBI.

Pawan Raje Nimbalkar, who was chairman of Osmanabad District Central Co-operative Bank in 2002, invested about Rs300 million of the bank in Gilts offered by Home Trade. But following the scam exposure, he turned absconder on behest of Padmasinh Patil which led to his defamation, said Omprakash Raje Nimbalkar, son of Pawan Raje.

 

"When my father deposited Rs300 million in Home Trade for purchase of securities, the same was transferred to NDCCB within 15 minutes by Home Trade, which shows the nexus between NDCCB's then chairman Sunil Kedar and the company officials," Omprakash Raje alleged.

 

Patil later implicated Nimbalkar in a case wherein a Kolkata-based firm, Regal Impex, failed to submit export proof for the sugar sold by Terna Co-opeartive Sugar Factory.

“The decision to sell sugar for export to Regal Impex was taken by the board of directors of Terna, but when the time came, all other directors, except my father, who was chairman, got away and he was then jailed for six months," Omprakash Raje said.

 

Sanjay Aggarwal, chief executive of Home Trade, was arrested in May 2002 along with his associates Ketan Seth and Subodh Bhandari for duping investors of billions of rupees.

 

Ketan Seth was also involved in the Rs927.8 million Seamen’s Provident Fund scam case along with AK Ghond, former commissioner of Seamen's Provident Fund Organisation.

 

Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), was also looking for any possible violations of foreign exchange regulations as Aggarwal allegedly remitted Rs580 million to Mauritius through HSBC Bank. But what is the current status of the Home Trade investigation? Nobody is willing to speak. All our phone call to Bank Security & Fraud (BS&F) cell of CBI in Mumbai went unanswered. – Yogesh Sapkale [email protected]


 

 


-- Sucheta Dalal



 



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