Conducts raids in Delhi, Jammu, Srinagar
Former Chairman Mushtaq Ahmed among bank officials named in FIR
STATE TIMES NEWS JAMMU: Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) on Saturday lodged FIR in Jammu and Kashmir Bank loan fraud case worth Rs. 1,100 crore advanced to M/s REI (Rice Exports India) Agro Ltd and conducted searches at various locations in Delhi, Jammu and Srinagar. “It came to fore in Preliminary Enquiry (PE) conducted against allegations that the officers/officials of J&K Bank Branch Mahim, Mumbai and Ansal Plaza, New Delhi have sanctioned loan to the tune of Rs. 800 crore in favour of firm namely M/S REI Agro Ltd, on fake documents and in violation of the laid down banking procedure between the years 2011 and 2013 which resulted in the accounts becoming NPA in the year 2014 thereby causing a huge financial loss to the bank”, a handout issued by ACB said and added, ” It has emerged during PE that the Firm REI Agro, which has shown its Head Office at Kolkata and Corporate Office at New Delhi, approached Mahim Mumbai Branch of JK Bank without having any office at Mumbai and got the loans/advances sanctioned in their favour worth Rs. 550 crore. The Vasant Vihar Branch of J&K Bank also sanctioned Rs 139 crore in their favour against Supplier Bill Discounting Facility and takeovers”. “The company approached the J&K Bank branches Mahim Mumbai and Vasant Vihar Delhi for sanctioning of advances for making payment to the farmers as per terms and conditions laid down in loan sanction order of the bank. The farmers were supposed to provide paddy to the company, in turn the company had to sell the produce (paddy) and the remittance thereof had to be deposited in the bank as instalments against advances received by the company. Despite the fact that it was known to the bank authorities and the company that the loan amount had to be disbursed among farmers for production of paddy which was brazenly violated by the company in connivance by the bank authority who allowed disbursement of loan through Joint Liability Groups (JLGs) though the company had already received the paddy and were not entitled to disburse the loan under such circumstance. As per probe conducted during PE, the JLGs were infact non existing entities whose credentials and antecedents had never been verified by the bank. The objective was to facilitate the company to divert the loan amount for its own benefit. The bank also violated NABARD guidelines where members of JLGs (which is a group of farmers) should be from the same area/village, but this aspect was deliberately and with malafide intentions ignored by the bank officers. The crop loan infact had been recommended against the securities of hypothecation of receivables of farmers/JLGs for supply of paddy to M/S REI Agro and corporate guarantee of the company along with post dated cheques (PDCs), which cannot be construed as a tangible security”, the handout further stated. “The bank officers/officials have also failed to take cognizance of the disbursement requests of the company wherein the company itself mentioned that it had already received the produce from the farmers/JLGs thus making the loan unwarranted. On scrutiny it was found that there is nothing on record as to who drafted the loan documents and even there is no vetting certificate of concerned law department. As per records of the bank, the Vasant Vihar Branch had in fact taken over loan obtained by the company from IDFC and IREDA. This loan was taken over for the wind mill already established by the company. This account too turned NPA along with other accounts. The machines were sold by the Bank and Rs 54 crore were recovered from the company but there is still outstanding of Rs 85 crore. These loans/advances were sanctioned/ disbursed by the officers/ officials of JK Bank Branches at Mahim, Mumbai and Vasant Vihar, New Delhi in connivance with and under patronage of then Chairman J&K Bank Mushtaq Ahmad Sheikh under single conspiracy spread over several years, in a planned and pre designed manner by misuse and abuse of their authority as public servants of the bank, just to serve the interest of the promoters of company M/S REI Agro Ltd namely Sanjay Jhunjhunwala, Chairman of Company M/s REI Agro Ltd and Sandeep Jhunjhunwala Vice President and Managing Director of the Company. The aforesaid bank officials conferred huge monetary benefit upon the company dishonestly and fraudulently, which resultantly inflicting huge loss of Rs. 550+ 85 = Rs 635 crore plus Rs. 489.45 crore (Interest component), total Rs. 635+489.45 = Rs. 1124.45 crore to the J&K Bank which ultimately is loss to state exchequer. The omissions and commissions which have surfaced during PE clearly disclosed commission of offences under Section 5 (1) (d) read with 5 (2) J&K PC Act Svt. 2006 and Sections 467, 468, 471 and 120-B RPC on the part of the bank officers/officials namely Mushtaq Ahmad Sheikh, the then Chairman J&K Bank, Imtiaz Ahmed Bhat then Branch Head Vasant Vihar, Dalip Bhan Credit Officer, Branch Vasant Vihar, Ashok Kumar Credit Officer, Branch Vasant Vihar, Harsh Kumar Manager Advances, Branch Vasant Vihar, Rakesh Kaw Manager Advances, Branch Vasant Vihar, Adil Bashir then Branch Head Mahim Mumbai, S.S Sambyal, Credit Officer, Branch Mahim, Mohd. Yousaf the then Branch Head Mahim, Abdul Hamid Thokar Credit Officer, Branch Mahim, Basir Ahmad the then Branch Head Mahim, Nisar Ahmed Shah Credit Officer, Branch Mahim, Shafiq Ahmed Credit Officer, at A&AP (Advances & Asset Planning) Corporate Headquarters, J&K Bank, Srinagar, A.K Koul Retd. Vice President Branch Head Vasant Vihar and the beneficiaries (as conspirators) namely Sanjay Jhunjhunwala, Chairman of Company M/s REI Agro Ltd. Sandeep Jhunjhunwala Vice President and Managing Director of the Company, Danish Beig, Vice President Corporate Finance REI Agro, Rahul Singhania, Manager Corporate Finance M/s REI Agro, JLGs and others”, the handout said.
Soon after the registration of FIR, ACB teams carried out extensive searches at the houses of aforesaid accused J&K Bank Officials at nine locations in Kashmir Valley, four locations in Jammu and three locations in National Capital region of Delhi including the houses of Sanjay Jhunjhunwala, Chairman of Company M/S REI Agro Ltd and Sandeep Jhunjhunwala Vice President and Managing Director of the Company. Further investigation in the matter is underway and three teams are continuing the investigation/searches in National Capital Region, Delhi.
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