Hyderabad: The Central Bureau of Investigation has booked Hyderabad based 'Saptarishi hotels' private limited and its sister organisation Maha hotels projects, represented by Laxshmi Narayan Sharma and family, in Rs 159 Crore bank fraud case.The CBI began investigation under Prevention of Corruption Act, based on a complaint filed by the Punjab National Bank- Hyderabad branch.

Based in Gachibowli, Saptarishi Hotels is a developer of 4-star hotels and is engaged in service apartments and convention hotel properties ( i.e Double tree by Hilton property). The Double tree property is built on a private partnership with Dr Y.S.R National Institute of Tourism and Hospitality Management (NITHM).

It all began when NITHM leased out 3 acres of land to Saptarishi for construction of a hotel, with a tenure of 33 years from that date of agreement (i.e 2010 November).

Meanwhile, Maha Hotels Projects represented by L N Sharma, his son Yashdeep and wife Suneetha, were sanctioned a loan of Rs 205 Crore, from a consortium of banks led by Punjab National bank. Trouble began when the party failed to repay the loan amount. "Despite several reminders from the lenders, the borrowers did not submit the required documents to conduct a forensic audit, leaving aside repayment of loans. The lenders alleged that the funds were diverted' the CBI said.

Investigation found that Saptarishi promoters diverted Rs 10.50 Crore to Agastya trade links, Rs 21.15 crore to Symbiosis Airworks private limited (formerly known as Sonal Packing exports) in Rajasthan. An amount of Rs 17.97 Crore to Rajnigandha distributors, towards plant and machinery expenditure. However, the forensic audit revealed that the accused company did not receive any material from the said company. "The promoters colluded with four companies to divert a sum of Rs 50.36 crore', CBI found.

The CBI has filed a criminal case against two companies namely Saptarishi Hotels and Maha Hotels projects. Its directors are L. N Sharma, his son Yashdeep Sharma, wife Suneeta Sharma. The central agency also booked Maharashtra based Khandal Trading India Private limited and Agastya trade links. Rajnigandha distributors private limited in West Bengal and Symbiosis Airworks private limited, have been charged.

"It is alleged that all the accused misappropriated funds of the banks and diverted the same to derive wrongful gains to themselves on the expense of the bank. Saptarishi and Maha hotels conspired and cheated the bank to the tune of Rs 159.48 crore. A case under 120- B r/w, 420, 409, 465, 471, 468 and 477 of the Indian Penal code and 13(2) r/w, 13(1) (d) of prevention of Corruption Act has been booked against 10 accused' said CBI .

Coreena Suares

Coreena Enet Suares is the Editor of NewsMeter. Her stories have been published in the Deccan Chronicle Newspaper and the Asian Age. Coreena began her career as a News Anchor. Throughout her journey, she has been able to build a strong network with people from all walks of life. She is an alumnus of Edward R. Murrow Program for Journalists- Research and Investigation, a flagship initiative of the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) Coreena is also a certified fact-checker by Google India Initiative. She has attended the 'Defence Correspondents Course 2019, through which she visited Indo- Pak border, besides traveling on a War-ship and insight into operations of Fighter aircraft. Coreena's focus areas are anti-crime investigation agencies and Defence reporting. You can follow Coreena on [email protected]

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