The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday conducted multiple raids in four cities in connection with a money laundering case linked to a bank fraud probe against Hilal Rather, the son of former Jammu and Kashmir minister Abdul Rahim Rather, officials said.
They said the raids were carried out at 16 locations in Kashmir, Jammu, Delhi and Ludhiana.
The exercise has been undertaken to collect evidence, they said.
The central probe agency has filed a money laundering case against Hilal Rather and others, under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), taking cognisance of a CBI FIR and Income Tax Department probe against him that pertains to a Rs 177-crore alleged bank fraud.
The CBI has alleged that Hilal Rather entered into a criminal conspiracy with the then officials of the Jammu and Kashmir Bank to get loans of about Rs 177.68 crore in alleged violation of rules and guidelines. His father, a former finance minister of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir, is a National Conference (NC) leader.
"The loans that were sanctioned for construction of flats were allegedly diverted and misappropriated by the accused using the bank accounts of his employees," the CBI had alleged.
It was further alleged by the CBI that the accused submitted forged certificates and bills to the bank.
In a charge sheet filed before special court in Jammu this March, the CBI had named the then branch heads of J&K Bank, New University Campus branch, Iqbal Singh and Arun Kapoor apart from Hilal Rather. Detailing alleged omissions on part of bank officials, the CBI had said they "did not" verify certificates and helped Rather in siphoning off the loan amount and laundering of money.
The I-T Department too had raided him in June last year on charges of alleged tax evasion.
"During the search, it was detected that the tax evader (referring to Hilal and his group) has been given illegal benefit of Rs 60 crore by J&K Bank. His outstanding loan of Rs 190 crore was settled at Rs 130 crore, although he did not deserve any concessional treatment," the Central Board of Direct Taxes had then said in a statement.
The CBDT is the policy-making body for the I-T Department. Referring to Hilal, the CBDT statement has alleged that "he is also holding and operating a foreign bank account". "Neither his interest in the Dubai company nor the foreign bank account has ever been disclosed by him in his tax returns," it said. It added that Hilal and his group "sold/booked part of his real estate project of Paradise Avenue near Jammu against unaccounted cash."