The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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FBI on Rastogi racket trail
- British fraud office joins probe against brothers

New Delhi, Feb. 14: The Federal Bureau of Investigation of the US and the Serious Frauds Office of Britain are tracking the dubious deals the non-resident Indian Rastogi brothers had struck across the world by floating shell companies in a $600-million scam.

Of the four Rastogi brothers, Ravindra was deported to Mumbai from Dubai on Tuesday, as he was wanted in 10 financial frauds registered by the CBI.

The other brothers are Narendra, based in the US, Virendra, who has settled in the UK, and Subhash, who was based in Singapore but was arrested from Noida in Uttar Pradesh on September 8, 2001.

CBI sources said two FBI investigators were in India recently and questioned a few witnesses in the CBI cases against the brothers in Bangalore and Delhi. A British team is also expected to come to India soon to execute letters rogatory — request for information — and seek details about the bogus companies the brothers had floated here to obtain fraudulent loans from banks.

The FBI had requested information about some India-based companies that have figured in the probe against the brothers. CBI officials said the FBI has found out that the Rastogis floated numerous front companies in Singapore, Hong Kong, Dubai and India to issue what are called “accommodation bills” for purchase and sale of non-ferrous metals. These bills, according to them, were used to obtain fraudulent loans from US banks.

These companies are allegedly in the names of Narendra, Virendra, their family members and associates. The US wants the CBI to trace and examine 56 persons, collect details of 58 companies from the registrar of companies and dig out 69 bank accounts in Mumbai, Delhi and Moradabad in Uttar Pradesh.

The CBI is already probing bogus exports of bicycle parts, by companies owned by the brothers, to Russia and Hong Kong in 1995-96. These fraudulent exports were valued at Rs 43.66 crore.

“This is not the only instance of fraudulent activities of the Rastogi brothers. They have been indulging in similar frauds relating to exports as well as imports for more than a decade at the global level. They operate from various parts of the world,” a senior officer said.

Cousin Rakesh is settled in Romania to look after the Rastogis’ metal business there. Virendra is said to be running a chain of companies in the UK — Allied Deals Plc, The Phoenix Corporations Plc, Eastern Vision (Trading) Limited, Sai Info Plc, The Company HUB Plc and Clicknetic Limited.

Subhash, who is out on bail here, owned another firm by the name of Subhash Trading Private Ltd in Singapore.

An associate of Virendra, Anand Kumar Jain, who too stays in London, is also wanted by the CBI in the bicycle parts export scam. Jain is a director of several Rastogi-owned companies in the UK. Ravi Manchanda, a chartered accountant, and Gautam Krishna Majumdar — both living in London — are the other suspects. Majumdar is said to be a director of some the companies registered in the UK.

CBI officials alleged that the Rastogi brothers managed to build an empire in a short span to become one of the most successful NRIs through large-scale money laundering. They hope the bubble will burst now, with the UK and US authorities opening investigations.

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