Huge investments detected, documents, gadgets seized
JAMMU, Aug 6: The Enforcement Directorate today conducted raids at 14 places across four cities on the properties of former Finance Minister and National Conference leader Abdul Rahim Rather’s son, Hilal Rather, who is already in jail in connection with Rs 177 crore bank loan scam, after registering a case against him under Sections 3 and 4 of Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) of 2002 and seized number of incriminating documents, gadgets etc.
The raids were conducted simultaneously at eight properties of Hilal Rather and others in Jammu, two places in Srinagar and one each at Ludhiana and New Delhi, sources told the Excelsior.
“The Enforcement Directorate can seek custody of Hilal Rather to interrogate him in connection with the properties some of which are on the names of other influential persons,” sources said.
Eight assets of Hilal Rather which were searched today by the teams of Enforcement Directorate in Jammu include palatial bungalows at Sector No. 9 Trikuta Nagar and Lane No. 17 Tawi Vihar.
Other premises include a house in Sector-B Sainik Colony on the name of Deepshikha Jamwal, another house in Tawi Vihar Sidhra near Jammu and Kashmir Bank of Rizwan Rahim Dar, which actually belongs to ON Zaroo, a building at Rehari Chungi on the name of Vishal Gupta, house at Ram Vihar Old Janipura owned by Daljit Wadhera, house in Lane No. 11 Greater Kailash of Ghulam Mohammad Bhat which actually belongs to Umesh Gupta and Malhotra Traders at Bypass Road near Ratiway bridge Sainik Colony.
“All these properties are part of investigations as Hilal Rather and Others appeared to have high stakes including investments in them,” sources said, adding the searches have yielded important documents which could help the Enforcement Directorate establish that Hilal Rather had investments in benami properties.
Searches were also carried out at the houses of Rathers at Humhama Airport Road Srinagar and Rizwan Rahim Dar.
The teams of Enforcement Directorate from Chandigarh and Jallandhar conducted searches at Ludhiana in Punjab while New Delhi office carried out raid in Delhi.
Several documents pertaining to immovable property have been seized, sources said, adding the role of Deepshikha Jamwal and Ghulam Mohammad Bhat is being investigated as they were reportedly connected with Paradise Avenue, a major concern of Hilal Rather. Rizwan Rahim Dar and Ghulam Mohammad Bhat were reportedly partners of Hilal Rather in construction of Paradise Avenue flats having immovable property documents on their names, which are being scrutinized by the Enforcement Directorate.
Vishal Gupta, whose house was searched at Rehari Chungi, had acted as representative of Hilal Rather at the site of construction of Paradise Apartments. Residence of Deepshikha Jamwal was searched as she had land on her name in partnership deeds of Paradise Avenue.
Sources said two family members of Hilal Rather were present in their house here when the searches were conducted.
During searches, electronic gadgets of M/s Simula Software and Research Centre Private Limited have been seized. The documents stated that Hilal Rather was Managing Director of M/s Simula Software. Property documents of M/s SPA Reality and Leasing have also been seized, they said.
The Enforcement Directorate found that huge amount had been invested in construction of Tawi Vihar Sidhra house of Hilal Rather.
The exercise was undertaken by the Enforcement Directorate to collect evidence in the PMLA case against Hilal Rather.
The ED had filed PMLA case against Hilal Rather and others, taking cognizance of a CBI FIR and Income Tax Department probe against him that pertains to a Rs 177-crore 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.
“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.”