IT, ACB raid Hilal Rather, top businessmen of Jammu

Rs 177 cr loan fraudulently obtained from J&K Bank

Mohinder Verma
JAMMU, June 27: Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) today unravelled major scam involving management of Jammu and Kashmir Bank and two firms owned by Hilal Rather, son of senior National Conference leader and former Finance Minister of the State Abdul Rahim Rather and has formally registered case against them under Prevention of Corruption Act.
It has come to the fore during the investigation that son of the politician had obtained Rs 177.68 crore worth loan illegally and fraudulently in connivance with the officials of the J&K Bank and an amount of Rs 50 crore was later waived off illegally by resorting to One Time Settlement (OTS).

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Official sources said that different teams of the Anti-Corruption Bureau under the direct supervision of its Director Anand Jain conducted searches in Paradise Avenue and Simula Solutions owned by Hilal Rather and various premises of individuals and companies connected with these firms after obtaining search warrants from the court.
During the searches, incriminating material such as laptops and documents were seized and it came to the fore that a deep rooted conspiracy was hatched between the Jammu and Kashmir Bank management and firms of Hilal Rather in order to confer huge undue benefits upon the latter.
Official spokesman of the Anti-Corruption Bureau said that a Joint Surprise Check (JSC) was conducted on account of the allegations of financial irregularities committed by the officers and officials of the J&K Bank wherein it was revealed that various loan facilities were extended to proprietors of a partnership firm M/s Paradise Avenue during the period between 2012 and 2017 in contravention to the laid down norms and procedures of the bank as a result of which loan accounts turned into NPA.
It was also found that the proprietors of the firm approached J&K Bank, Branch New University Campus Jammu for availing of loan facility of Rs 74.27 crore for setting up a residential township complex under the name and style of Paradise Avenue at Narwal consisting of 52 flats in each of the towers named Eden & Zion.
The loan amount was sanctioned on 30.01.2012 with one of the pre requisite conditions that loan has to be disbursed in a phased manner after securing margin of Rs 22.09 crore including unsecured loan of Rs 2 crore from the borrowers on pro-rata basis.
On scrutiny of records of the branch it surfaced that loan amount was in fact sanctioned by the J&K Bank in January 2012 which paved way for the firm to purchase 30 kanals of land from different land owners through registered sale deeds in July 2012 after a gap of six months from sanctioning of loan in favour of the firm. This clearly established that the loanee firm had no title of land in its name when the loan was sanctioned in January 2012 which had to be mortgaged to the bank.
“Under a well knit and pre designed conspiracy hatched by the loanee firm with the bank officials, the amount of sale consideration reflected in the sale deed was shown paid through cheques to the land owners fraudulently and dishonestly with inflated cost of the land whereas those cheques were actually taken back from the land owners and fresh cheques were issued to them from the loan account of M/s Paradise Avenue and loan account of Shree Simula Solutions, other sister concerns of the leading partner of the firm with the objective and purpose to buy the land in question out of the loan amount alone sanctioned by the bank”, the ACB investigation revealed.
Since the proprietors of the firm and the bank officials were fully aware about the rules/norms governing the subject that the loan amount cannot be sanctioned against purchase of land for raising of residential township they in league with the officials of the J&K Bank branch in order to seek release of the loan amount had also issued letters addressed to the bank indicating therein that the land owners had supplied construction material to the firm whereas in actual no such material had been purchased by the firm from the suppliers.
On further scrutiny of the bank records, it also surfaced that as per the terms and conditions the bank was to release the amount in phased manner. However, by March 2014, the bank had instead made 100% disbursement in first phase only thereby conferring undue pecuniary advantage upon the beneficiary firm.
“The firm borrowed three additional loans worth Rs 68.91 crores, Rs 20 crores and Rs 14.5 crores. Hence in total the proprietors of the firm managed to obtain Rs 177.68 crores loan illegally and fraudulently in connivance with the bank management and its officials”, the ACB spokesman said, adding “the repayment of the loan amounts was to start from September 2017 with a quarterly installment of Rs 11.27 crore. However, the proprietors turned wilful defaulters with sole objective to get their loan account declared into NPA and consequently they succeeded in their goal on 31.12.2017”.
“The deep rooted conspiracy between the bank management and the beneficiary firm is further evident from the fact that the Principal Loan Amount of Rs 177.68 crores was settled at Rs 130 crores under One Time Settlement (OTS) illegally and bank management by abuse of their authority waived off Rs 50 crores on the principal amount which inflicted a huge loss to the bank”, the ACB said, adding “even in response to OTS, the cheque issued by the borrower for an amount of Rs 40 crores has bounced”.
On the basis of these revelations, the ACB has registered a case under Prevention of Corruption Act against J&K Bank management and its concerned officers and the partners of the beneficiary firms and others.
The searches in the premises of Hilal Rather were conducted by a team headed by DySP Mushtaq, who was assisted by Inspectors Kamal Sangra, Gulzar Ahmed and Bandeshwar Singh.


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