ACB files FIR against Srinagar Dy Mayor, J&K Bank officials

The Anti-Corruption Bureau has registered a case against the city’s Deputy Mayor Sheikh Imran and officials of the Jammu and Kashmir Bank for purported illegal appropriation of crores of rupees from the state exchequer.

Sheikh Imran, the businessman-turned-politician, is the Deputy Mayor of Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC).

A spokesman of ACB in a statement on Saturday said a case FIR 3/2019 has been registered in Police Station ACB, South Kashmir (Anantnag) against Shiekh Imran, Director M/S Kehwa Square Pvt Ltd BohriKadal Srinagar, officers of J&K Bank and other government officials, “for illegal appropriation of subsidy with inflated project cost for establishment of CA storage at Lassipora, Pulwama.”

The case has been registered under section 5(1) (d) P.C Act Samvat 2006, punishable u/S 5(2) of the Act read with 420 and 120-B RPC.

Giving details, the spokesman said: “During enquiry, it also came to light that M/S Kehwa Group has six more business units. Sheikh Imran has raised varied loan facilities/overdrafts for these business units. The liabilities on account of loan accumulated to Rs 138 crore.”

The ACB spokesman said that since one of the companies ‘Kehwa Square’ including its sister business concerns had turned NPA, Sheikh Imran had sought one time settlement with the J&K Bank authorities. The bank finally granted a waiver of Rs 33 crore.

“Pursuant to the one time settlement, M/S Kehwa Group was asked to deposit Rs 105 crore in two instalments with the first instalment of Rs 50 crore to be paid by 25.03.2017,” it said.

The enquiry, according to the ACB, further revealed that in order to “usurp” the subsidy component under the garb of promoting horticulture activity/storage facility, the proprietor of M/S Kehwa Square Pvt Ltd, Sheikh Imran and his partners with the connivance of horticulture officers and bank officials got the CA Store declared as NPA without paying even a single instalment towards the bank.

“The cost of the project assessed subsequently during enquiry by ACB was found much lower than the projected cost,” it said.

“The enquiry 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 statement said.

“The proprietor(s) of M/S Go Fresh Shri Nadeem Ahmad Mayar obtained the loan amount of Rs. 36.10 crore; he physically took over the operation of the CA storage business unit without formal transfer of assets/liabilities in his favour.

“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. M/S Kehwa Square Pvt. Ltd,” the statement said.

According to the statement, the enquiry further revealed that “M/S Kehwa Square Pvt Ltd sought further concessions from the bank subsequent to the first OTS (One Time Settlement) sought by it surreptitiously and consented to by the bank authorities whereof the second instalment of Rs. 55 crore, duly payable after the first OTS was further reduced to Rs. 27 crore”.

During the 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 (sic).”

The ACB spokesman said, “It is thus established that M/S Kehwa Group has got their loan of Rs. 138 crore with J&K Bank, restructured for merely an amount of Rs 78 crore and under a well knit conspiracy Sheikh Imran and partners of M/S Kehwa Square Pvt. Ltd. was extended with covert/overt  support by officers of J&K Bank and Joint Inspection Team, dishonestly and fraudulently, who by abuse and misuse of their official position as public servants conferred undue pecuniary/monetary advantage on M/S Kehwa Group of Companies thereby causing illegal appropriation of crores of rupees from state exchequer,  for personal motives (sic).”

The investigation has been set into motion and further action as per law is in process, the spokesman said.