jaisalmer: former SBI chairman detained for fraud in selling Raj hotel below market price | Jaipur News

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JAISALMER: Former SBI chairman Pratip Chaudhuri was arrested Sunday by Jaisalmer police from his residence in Delhi for an alleged fraud involving the sale of a hotel in Jaisalmer at an extremely undervalued price. He was taken into police custody Monday for 14 days after the chief justice denied his request for bail. He was sent to Jaisalmer prison. His lawyer filed another bail application with the District Court and Sessions; it will be heard on November 8.
Chaudhuri sold the property for Rs 200 crore for just Rs 25 crore, when the owners defaulted on a loan, to a company named Alchemist ARC, it is alleged. After his retirement, he became one of the directors of the company that bought the hotel.
The CJM court recognized that selling the luxury hotel without having it auctioned was cheating. On October 23, the court issued arrest warrants for eight people, including Chaudhuri. The other seven have not yet been arrested.
Jaisalmer SP Ajay Singh said the CJM court issued an arrest warrant for the eight under IPS sections 420 (cheating), 409 (criminal breach of trust by an official or banker…) and 120B (punishment criminal association). Besides the ex-banker, the other seven people are Alok Dhir, RK Kapur, SV Venkatakrishnan, Sasi Methadil, Devendra Jain, Tarun and Vijay Kishore Saxena.
In 2008, the owner of the Fort Rajwada Hotel, Dileep Singh Rathore, decided to build another hotel on Khuhadi Road in Jaisalmer and took out a term loan of Rs 24 crore from SBI Jodhpur. In 2010, he applied for another loan of Rs 6 crore from SBI, but the bank refused him the loan. Later that same year, Rathore died of a heart attack. Two months after his death, SBI converted the hotel under construction to NPA and seized the property. SBI had the two hotels appraised and lobbied Rathore’s son Harendra Singh Rathore to repay the loan, it is claimed.
Kanwraj Singh, lawyer for Godawan Group Pvt Ltd, owner of Rajwada Fort Hotels and Garh Rajwada (property under construction), opposed Chaudhuri’s bail application.
In the meantime, Chaudhari retired and within a month Alok Dhir, allegedly a middleman, became director of the salvage company. The hotel owner learned of the plan to take over the hotel and filed an FIR against eight people at Sadar police station in 2015.
After a long hearing, the CJM court recognized that selling the hotel without having it auctioned was tantamount to cheating. The court issued arrest warrants on October 23 for eight people, including Alok Dhir and Pratip Chaudhari, after which Jaisalmer police arrested the former SBI chairman.


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