Hilal Rather diverted bank loan to foreign tours: ED

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The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Friday claimed that Hilal Rather, the son of former Jammu and Kashmir minister Abdul Rahim Rather, “siphoned off” money loaned to his company to splurge on foreign tours and acquiring personal assets in India, Dubai and the US.

The central agency conducted raids at 17 locations in Srinagar, Jammu, Delhi and Ludhiana on Thursday in connection with a money laundering probe against the junior Rather linked to an alleged Rs 177 crore loan fraud involving Jammu and Kashmir Bank.

“Several incriminating documents and digital evidences have been seized during the search operations,” the ED said in a statement issued on Friday.

It said raids were carried out at the premises of Abdul Rahim Rather, a former minister of finance, agriculture and rural development of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir and a National Conference (NC) leader, in Srinagar and that of his son in Jammu.

“A substantial part of the loan was siphoned off by Hilal Rather by transferring the funds from the loan account of Paradise Avenue (his company) to various entities and re-routing the funds back to the firm’s current account from where it was further withdrawn and transferred for purchase of movable and immovable assets in India, Dubai and the USA and also spent on foreign tours and other personal activities,” the ED alleged.

It added that three flats in the name of Hilal Rather and family members were “acquired in Dubai and one bungalow was acquired in the name of Hilal Rather and his wife in North Carolina, USA” by allegedly misusing the loan amount. 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 case filed by the Jammu and Kashmir anti-corruption bureau against him.