Searches conducted in New Delhi
Jammu, Aug 7: The Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) has registered two cases against Management, officers/ officials of J&K Bank and Raj Singh Gehlot, Promoter Director of Ambience Group in JK Bank loan fraud worth about Rs 600 crores and conducted searches at some locations in New Delhi
The ACB registered cases against officials of the J&K bank along with the illegal beneficiaries involved in financial irregularities/loan fraud worth Rs 600 crores and also conducted searches at residential premises and office of Raj Singh Gehlot, Managing Director Ambience Group at New Delhi.
An official handout said separate verifications were conducted by ACB on account of the allegations of financial irregularities, wherein it was revealed that various loan facilities were extended to proprietors/ Promoter Directors of firms namely M/S Aman Hospitality Pvt. Ltd and M/S Ambience Towers Pvt Ltd (both firms owned by Raj Singh Gehlot, Managing Director Ambience Group ) during the period 2009 to 2016 in contravention to the laid down norms and procedures of the Bank.
During verifications, it came to fore that management at the Corporate Headquarters/ Zonal Office Delhi and other officials of J&K Bank Branch Ansal Plaza have given loan worth crores of rupees to one firm namely M/s Aman Hospitality Pvt Ltd and in connivance with the said firm, the loan amount has been declared NPA to facilitate it to have one time settlement (OTS) to firm’s advantage.
New Delhi based M/s Aman Hospitality Pvt Ltd has submitted a “feasibility study and development strategy reports for the project” for setting up a Twin Five Star Hotel Project in various banks including J&K Bank through its Branch i.e. B.U. Ansal Plaza New Delhi and cost of project was estimated as Rs 866.89 crores with further revised cost of the project amounting to Rs.1275.71 crores. Out of the total project, M/S Aman Hospitality Pvt Ltd obtained a term loan amounting to Rs 227.00 crores (disbursed from year 2009 to 2013) besides Rs 15.00 crore as bank guarantee limit from J&K Bank Ltd Branch Ansal Plaza New Delhi whereas rest of the loan was availed by the firm from other banks. Since the company turned willful defaulter as it failed to repay the loan amount on regular intervals, the J&K Bank sanctioned a funded interest term loan amount of Rs.47.21 crore in year 2014 in favour of company.
Since the company again failed to pay the loan amount, resultantly the J&K Bank Authorities declared the loan account of the firm as NPA on 30.06.2018 and at this stage total outstanding of J&K Bank against the company was Rs 261.47 crores as Principal amount and at the same time interest component Rs 27.81 as unapplied interest till 30.04.2019 and thus total outstanding with the company was pegged at Rs 289.28 crore.
However, surprisingly J&K Bank illegally and with malafide intentions settled loan amount for an amount of Rs128.94 crores only against the total outstanding amount of Rs 289.28 crore through OTS mechanism without taking recourse to SARFAESI Act in connivance with Raj Singh Gehlot, Dayanand Singh and Aman Gehlot, Promoter Directors of M/S Aman Hospitality Pvt. Ltd.
Due to connivance despite illegal OTS the authorities failed to recover a single penny from the company till date and OTS has turned a mere eye wash and thus caused a monetary loss of Rs. 289.28 Crore to Bank. Since the facts and the circumstances which have emerged during verification vis-a-vis scrutiny of records of the bank disclosed commission of criminal misconduct by bank officials of J&K bank and the Promoter Directors of the beneficiary company and others, case FIR No.15/2019 was registered in ACB (Kashmir) police station.
Moreover, another verification conducted by the Anti-Corruption Bureau, Rajouri revealed that initially Term Loan of Rs. 258 crore was sanctioned by J&K Bank Ansal Plaza Delhi during year 2015 in favour of M/S Ambience Towers Pvt Ltd against future leasing/rental receipts at shopping cum office complex at plot no. 2B2, twin District Sector-10, Rohini Delhi.
In order to confer more undue benefit upon the company, the concerned officials of J&K Bank in connivance with the beneficiary firm subsequently modified the first loan sanction and increased the loan amount to Rs. 300 cr in year 2016 which was disbursed in full during the same year.
The same was calculated by J&K Bank against discounted value of rentals i.e, Lease agreement related to rentals of the firm was to be executed with three parties viz., M/S Future Group (Big Bazar), M/S HDFC Bank and M/S Sindhu Trade links.
Apart from other formalities, the BU JK Bank Ansal Plaza had to obtain and rely on registered lease deeds executed between the borrower company and the three parties.
On scrutiny of bank documents, it has come to fore that the beneficiary company’s proposal for loan was recommended against unregistered lease deeds with M/s Future group(Big Bazar) reflecting lease rent (future income) @ Rs. 103.00 per sq ft per month, a letter of intent of HDFC Bank with lease rent (future income) @ Rs. 45.59 per sq ft per month and unregistered lease deed with M/s Sindhu Trade Links with lease rent (future income) @ Rs. 92.00 per sq ft per month to M/s Ambience Towers.
There was a prerequisite condition from the bank that before disbursement of loan amount to the company, the BU JK Bank Ansal Plaza New Delhi had to obtain registered lease deeds but the Bank at the time of disbursement of loan amount did not obtain either of the registered lease deeds deliberately and with malafide intentions and resultantly on 29-06-2016, the company furnished registered lease deed in respect of HDFC Bank with rent @ Rs. 45.59 per sq ft per month, whereas no registered lease deeds in respect of Future Group and Sindhu Trade links were furnished by the company to the bank till 2018 and the beneficiary company in connivance with the officials of J&K Bank furnished registered lease deed in respect of only Future Group in 2018 with the rent rate @ Rs. 57.20 per sq ft per month which is about half of the rent @ Rs 103.00 per sq ft per month mentioned in the unregistered lease deed on the basis of which Rs.300 crore loan had been sanctioned. However, M/s Sindhu Trade Links never occupied the space nor did they pay any rent. The lease deed with M/s Sindhu Trade Links was terminated later on and the space was allotted to HDFC Bank on the rates already mentioned in their lease deed which is also about half of the rent mentioned in the unregistered lease deed of M/s Sindhu Trade Links and this clearly proves the nexus between the beneficiary company and the officials of J&K Bank who have conferred undue benefit upon the beneficiary company.
Verification has further revealed that on the basis of registered lease deeds of Future Group and HDFC Bank, the company was entitled to obtain maximum of Rs. 195.89 crore instead of Rs. 300 crore sanctioned by the officials of J&K Bank in connivance with Raj Singh Gehlot, Shekhar Singh & Sumit Chaudhary Promoter Directors of Ambience Towers Pvt Ltd.
In this way it is established that the management of J&K Bank at Corporate HQ Srinagar as well as officials of J&K Bank Zonal office New Delhi and BU Ansal Plaza New Delhi by abuse of their authority for pecuniary considerations under a well knit conspiracy hatched with Raj Singh Gehlot, Shekhar Singh & Sumit Chaudhary sanctioned and disbursed loan on higher side to the tune of Rs. 300 cr in excess to its entitlement of Rs. 195.89 cr in favour of M/s Ambience Towers Pvt Ltd.
The officials J&K Bank in connivance with Promoter Directors of M/s Ambience Towers Pvt Ltd deliberately and dishonestly delayed to obtain registered lease deeds in respect of other two firms i.e. M/s Future Group and M/s Sindhu Trade Links as per quoted rates of rent which resulted in conferment of pecuniary advantage upon the company which was not deserving to obtain such huge loan amount on the basis of half baked loan documents/unsecured mortgage property.
Since the facts and the circumstances which have emerged during verification visa-vis scrutiny of records of the bank disclosed commission of criminal misconduct by bank management at Corporate HQ Srinagar/officials then posted at Zonal Office Delhi/BU Ansal Plaza Delhi and Raj Singh Gehlot, Shekhar Singh and Sumit Chaudhary Promoter Directors of the beneficiary firm M/S Ambience Towers Pvt. Ltd. and others, another case FIR No.16/2019 was registered in P/S ACB (CK)
During investigations, teams of ACB J&K conducted extensive searches at the residence and office of Raj Singh Gehlot, Managing Director Ambience Group at New Delhi with due procedure. During the searches various incriminating documents/ electronic evidences were recovered and seized by the team. Further investigations are going on.
Searches conducted in New Delhi