J&K Bank: IT raids in Srinagar, Delhi, Bengaluru

Jammu and Kashmir Bank. File photo

Widening the probe in the J&K Bank case, the Income Tax Department on Tuesday conducted searches in ten locations in Srinagar, Bengaluru and Delhi from where evidence for the transaction of around Rs 59.35 crore was seized.

The searches were conducted at the premises — eight in Srinagar and one each in Bengaluru and Delhi — of Kehwah group, promoted by Srinagar Deputy Mayor Sheikh Imran. The group is into transportation, manufacturing of silk yarn, hospitality and retail trading of Kashmir arts and crafts among others.

Central government officials said the action is linked to the investigation into alleged irregularities in the bank's affairs and the raids conducted by the state anti-corruption bureau (ACB). Bank Chairman Parvez Ahmed was sacked recently after charges of corruption, nepotism and favouritism were made against him.

"None of the members of the group is regular in filing their Income Tax Returns. As a one-time settlement, the group has got their loans of Rs 170 crore with J&K Bank restructured for a sum of Rs 77 crore, out of which, payment of only Rs 50.34 crore to the J&K Bank has been made so far and balance of Rs.27.66 crore is yet to be paid," officials said.

During the search, they said, evidence has been detected indicating that the one-time settlement of the loan from J&K Bank has been done through the active connivance of a senior J&K Bank officer, who was receiving several out-of-turn promotions.

Furthermore, they claimed, evidence has also been unearthed indicating that the repayment of Rs 50.34 crore pertaining to the said loan has been greenfielded by the J&K Bank by granting loan of similar amount to an associate "who has confessed to his role in layering the entire transaction".

During the searches, incriminating evidence has been found relating to sale of undisclosed property amounting to Rs 22 crore, agreement to sell transport business for Rs 9.10 crore and undisclosed profit of Rs 15-20 crore on account of sale of cold storage plant at Lassipora.

The cost of this project was found to have been inflated to Rs 47 crore instead of the actual cost of Rs 17 crore, for claiming more subsidy from the government by raising inflated and bogus bills.

Documents related to undisclosed properties at Sonmarg (Rs 2.68 crore), Pahalgam (Rs 3.55 crore) and Bengaluru (Rs 1 crore) and one shop in partnership in Delhi purchased for Rs 1.02 crore were also seized. 

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