14 April, 2021

The Anatomy Of A Fraud

A crooked huckster, influential friends and apathetic regulators make for a copybook scandal

The Anatomy Of A Fraud
IT all began with a few cheques bouncing. When some fixed depositors in high-profile non-banking finance company (NBFC) CRB Capital Markets found that the cheques issued to them by the company were dishonoured, they quickly sat up and took notice. The news spread fast, and with it came panic, as thousands of depositors thronged CRB'S offices to withdraw their deposits.

The speed at which things moved thereafter was amazing. CRB's closets, it appeared, stored only skeletons. Within days, the group which claimed a funds base of more than Rs 1000 crore and which liked to refer to itself as the "complete global financial house", had collapsed, winding-up operations had started, and an international manhunt was on for the "CRB" in CRB Capital: Chain Roop Bhansali.

And what is now clear is that the crash of CRB could have been easily avoided. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Should have seen it coming months before. Indeed, it did in December 1996, an RBI team wrote a damning report on massive irregularities in the way CRB was using public money, but no follow-up action was...

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