NEW DELHI: Industrialist Vikram Kothari, the promoter of Rotomac Pens, and his son Rahul Kothari, are being questioned at the CBI office in Delhi after they were brought from Uttar Pradesh's Kanpur last night. The Kotharis are accused of defaulting on more than Rs. 3,700 crore in loans from government banks.
Investigators have raided the billionaire's home and establishments in Kanpur and he and his son were questioned all day yesterday.
Vikram Kothari has denied any wrongdoing. "Yes, I took a loan from the bank but it's wrong information that I haven't paid," he said.
The CBI has filed a case based on a complaint by Bank of Baroda, one of the banks from which Vikram Kothari had taken loans.
Mr Kothari allegedly owes Rs. 3,695 crore to Allahabad Bank, Bank of India, Bank of Baroda, Bank of Maharashtra, Indian Overseas Bank, Oriental Bank of Commerce and Union Bank of India.
The Rotomac case coincides with the CBI's investigation into the massive PNB scam in which bank officials helped Nirav Modi and others get credit from overseas banks using fake guarantees. Nirav Modi and his family left the country in the first week of January.
In February last year, Mr Kothari was declared a wilful defaulter. He contested it in the Allahabad High Court and won but allegedly didn't pay his dues. All through last year, various properties belonging to Mr Kothari and his family members were auctioned by banks in an attempt to recover some of their dues.
Despite his financial troubles, Mr Kothari hardly cut back on his opulent lifestyle. His sprawling 'Santushti' mansion and a fleet of luxury vehicles are well known in Kanpur.
Vikram Kothari's father Mansukhbhai Kothari set up the 'Pan Parag' brand that became a huge success.
In 1999, the Kotharis split. Vikram Kothari took charge of the family's stationery and pens enterprise while his younger brother Deepak Kothari took control of the Pan Parag empire.