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Business

Indian bosses of UK’s defunct company accused of defrauding bank

India’s Central Bureau of Investigation has booked cases against the former bosses of Molinare Limited. (Photo by MANJUNATH KIRAN/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Chandrashekar Bhat

INDIA’S federal investigation agency is probing the directors of a UK-based defunct entertainment company for allegedly defrauding a bank in a historical case.

Molinare Limited which was into post-production services in the entertainment and media industry had secured a total loan of £18.5 million from the London branch of the Bank of India to upgrade its equipment and other needs since 2008.

However, the company defaulted on repayment and the loan account became a non-performing asset in 2012. The company went into liquidation and the bank managed to recover £1.78m by selling its assets.

India’s Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) booked cases against the company’s then managing director Prabodh Kumar Tewari and his sons Anand and Abhishek – all residents of Delhi – for “cheating” the bank.

The Tewaris allegedly presented “doctored invoices” that detailed non-existent business activity to secure the loans, The Times reported.

Century Communication Europe Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Century Communication Limited, had acquired a 76 per cent stake in Molinare Productions Limited which in turn held Molinare Limited as a step-down subsidiary. All the companies were controlled by the Tewaris.

Established in 1973, Molinare Limited produced the special effects for several big movies, including Tom Hooper’s Oscar-winning British historical drama The King’s Speech.

According to legal documents the bank presented to the investigation agency, the company faced a liquidity crunch as work orders dried up and its capacity remained under-utilisation.

Molinare Limited and their promoters “wilfully diverted and siphoned off the bank’s loan for activities other than for which the loan was sanctioned”, the Bank of India is reported to have told the CBI.

Tewari, 71 and Anand, 49, had been previously arrested by the probe agency in 2012 for allegedly cheating several banks of £232 million, but they came out on bail, The Hindu reported.

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