The Mumbai Police have booked BJP leader Mohit Kamboj in a case of alleged bank fraud. While Kamboj has dismissed the charges calling the matter ‘long settled’, the issue has come as an embarrassment for the state BJP which has been gunning for the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi government on the issue of corruption.
Who is Mohit Kamboj?
Mohit Kamboj, who hails from Uttar Pradesh, came to Mumbai in 2004. In 2005, he floated his firm, KBJ Jewellers. Kamboj, who had received early lessons in jems and jewellery business from his father Banwarilal Kamboj before striking out on his own, was also the national president of the Indian Bullion and Jewellery Association from 2012-19.
When did Mohit Kamboj join the BJP?
Kamboj joined the BJP in 2013. In 2014 state Assembly elections, he was given a ticket to contest from Dhindoshi Assembly constituency, but lost to Shiv Sena’s Sunil Prabhu. His candidature, however, became a talking point as he was picked over several committed party workers and also because he was the richest candidate in Maharashtra. As per his poll affidavit, Kamboj had assets of Rs 253.53 crore. Despite his electoral defeat, Kamboj stayed influential in the party. He was an important and active player in drawing the campaign strategy, both for the 2019 Lok Sabha and state Assembly polls.
What is the case against Mohit Kamboj?
The Economic Offence Wing of the Mumbai Police has filed a case of fraud against Kamboj. The FIR has been filed following a complaint by the manager of an Indian Overseas Bank. The manager has alleged Kamboj was one of the three directors of a firm that took a loan of Rs 52 crore, adding that the BJP leader used it for purpose other than stated. The charges filed against Kamboj and the other two directors are under Section 409 and 420 of the IPC.
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However, this is not the first time that Kamboj finds himself under the scanner. In 2019, Bank of Baroda issued newspaper advertisements to announce it had initiated proceedings to declare Kamboj a willful defaulter. He was charged in connection with borrowings by a firm called ‘Avyaan Ornaments’. A year later in 2020, the CBI registered a bank fraud case against Kamboj pertaining to a loan borrowed by ‘Avyaan Overseas’. It later emerged that Kamboj was the Managing Director and guarantor of ‘Avyaan Overseas’.
However, Kamboj has denied all these charges in the past. He has stated that in 2018, the bank agreed for a one-time settlement. An amount of Rs 76 crore was paid by him as personal guarantor. And that he no longer held the post of promoter or managing director.
What political controversies have surrounded Kamboj?
Ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls when BJP pitched nationalism as its main plank, Kamboj created a flutter by adding Bharatiya to his name. He then put up huge bill boards and posters across Mumbai to advertise the same.
After laying low for some time, Kamboj resurfaced after NCP minister Nawab Malik alleged he was one of the masterminds in an alleged plot against Aryan Khan, who had been arrested in a drug case. Malik also alleged that Kamboj’s brother-in-law, Rishabh Sachdev, was among those detained by the NCB, but was let off following calls from top leaders in Delhi and Mumbai.
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Initially, the state BJP tried to distance itself, but then Kamboj became a powerful voice from the party to attack the NCP as he filed a Rs 100 crore defamation case against Malik for maligning him and his family. He strongly defended his brother-in-law, and decried an attempt to defame his family.
After that, he attacked Malik repeatedly for allegedly supporting drug abusers and peddlers.
After Malik’s arrest, Kamboj invited a police case for brandishing a sword outside his building in Mumbai during celebrations with party workers.
During his run-ins with Shiv Sena leaders, he also taunted Sanjay Raut over borrowing money from him and not returning it