STATE TIMES NEWS SRINAGAR: Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) on Saturday booked Deputy Mayor of Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) Sheikh Imran, the businessman-turned-politician, officers of the Jammu and Kashmir Bank and other government officials for alleged illegal appropriation of crores of rupees from the State exchequer. According to ACB statement issued here, a Case FIR No. 3/2019 under Section 5(1) (d) PC Act Samvat 2006, punishable under Section 5(2) of the Act read with 420 and 120-B RPC has been registered in Police Station ACB, South Kashmir (Anantnag) against Shiekh Imran, Director M/s Kehwa Square Pvt. Ltd. Bohri Kadal Srinagar, officers of J&K Bank and other government officials for illegal appropriation of subsidy with inflated project cost for establishment of a Controlled Atmosphere (CA) storage at Lassipora, Pulwama. “During investigation, it was revealed that Imran submitted a proposal to J&K Bank for establishment of CA storage under the name of Kehwa Square Pvt. Ltd. at Lassipora in Pulwama”, the statement reads. A joint inspection team of various experts and government officials conducted an inspection of the site and the assessed cost of the project to Rs 33 crore, this statement reads. The subsidy component was calculated at Rs 16.50 crore viz 50 per cent of the estimated project cost (EPC), purportedly as per norms of Horticulture Mission for North East and Himalayan (HMNEH) States, the statement reads. The proposal was approved by the empowered monitoring committee of Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH). After its approval, the State government also constituted a committee which conducted an inspection and then recommended release of subsidy as per norms without altering or amending the component wise value of machinery and civil works, etc., the statement said. During inquiry, it also came to light that the Kehwa Group has six more business units and Imran has raised varied loan facilities /overdrafts for these units, he said. “The liabilities on account of loan accumulated to Rs 138 crore. Since, one of the company, Kehwa Square had turned non-performing asset, Imran sought one-time settlement with J&K Bank authorities. The bank finally granted wave off liabilities of Rs. 33 crore. Pursuant to the one time settlement, M/s Kehwa Group was asked to deposit Rs. 105 crore in two installments with the first installment of Rs. 50 crore to be paid by March 25, 2017 ,” the statement said.
To usurp the subsidy component under the garb of promoting horticulture activity/storage facility with the connivance of Horticulture officials and bank officials, Imran and his partners wanted the CA storage to be declared as a non-performing asset without paying even a single installment to the bank, the statement said.
The cost of the project assessed during the inquiry by the ACB was found much lower than the projected cost, the statement added.
The inquiry revealed that this criminal design of Sheikh Imran and his partners was actually executed with the active support of the officials of J&K Bank through business unit namely M/s Go Fresh in seeking a loan term of Rs. 36.10 crore with arrangement of margin money of Rs. 1.90 crore in lieu of the proposed transfer of the lease / property rights of this mortgaged business unit i.e. CA Store Lassipora in his favour.
The ACB statement said that Nadeem Ahmad Mayar, the proprietor of Go Fresh, took a loan of Rs 36.10 crore and took over operations of the CA storage business unit without formal transfer of assets/liabilities in his name.
“Ironically, the bank authorities extended the loan facility to the proposed buyer on the same property which was already under hypothecation with the bank as asset of the principal borrower i.e Kehwa Square Pvt. Ltd,” the ACB statement said.
The inquiry further revealed that M/s Kehwa Square Pvt. Ltd. sought further concessions from the bank subsequent to the first One Time Settlement (OTS), whereof the second installment of Rs. 55 crore, duly payable after the first OTS was further reduced to Rs. 27 crore.
During enquiry it has come to fore that M/S Kehwa Group in furtherance of a well knit conspiracy with respective Government agencies and bank authorities under the garb of NPA and OTS/s in mutual conspiracy illegally benefitted the proprietor/s of M/S Kehwa Group with illegal appropriation of subsidy amount of Rs. 16.50 crore and layering of various transactions.
Under a well knit conspiracy Sheikh Imran and partners of M/S Kehwa Square Pvt. Ltd. were given covert / overt support by Officers of J&K Bank and Joint Inspection Team, dishonestly and fraudulently.
The investigation has been set into motion and further action as per law is in process, the statement issued by ACB reads.
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