Skeletons have started tumbling out of the cupboard of the controversial J&K Bank with the raiding party of the Income Tax (IT) department digging out documents indicating that as a one-time settlement, the Bank restructured an influential business group’s loans amounting Rs 170 crore to a sum of Rs 77 crore.
Reports have also come that the top officers of the Bank had allegedly been misusing the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) fund. A huge amount of Rs 50 crore out of CSR was given to a Srinagar based golf course that has many influential members.
These documents have been seized by the IT team that, on Tuesday, raided the bank in Srinagar and also the business premises of Imran Sheikh, deputy mayor of the Srinagar Municipal Corporation.
A spokesman of the IT department said that out of the restructured amount, repayment of only Rs 50.34 crore has been made so far to the Bank and the balance of Rs 27.66 crore is yet to be paid.
During the search, 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, evidence has also been unearthed indicating that the repayment of Rs 50.34 crore had been green-fielded by the J&K Bank by granting a loan of a similar amount to an associate who has confessed to his role in layering the entire transaction.
The IT Department had conducted search and seizure operations on the prominent business group based in Srinagar, covering 8 premises in Srinagar and 1 each at Bangalore and Delhi. The assessee group is engaged in the business of transportation, manufacturing of silk yarn, hospitality, retail trading of Kashmir Arts & Crafts etc.
The spokesman said that none of the members of the group is regular in filing their Income Tax Returns.
The spokesman said that documents were seized pertaining to the sale of undisclosed property amounting to Rs 22 crore, agreement to sell transport business for Rs 9.10 crore, and an 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 crores instead of the actual cost of Rs 17 crore for claiming more subsidy from the government by raising inflated and bogus bills. The loan for this project was taken from J&K Bank.
The IT also recovered documents pertaining to undisclosed properties at Sonmarg (Rs 2.68 crore), Pahalgam (Rs 3.55 crore)and Bangalore (Rs 1 crore), and one shop in partnership in Delhi purchased for Rs.1.2 crore.
The digital evidence seized during the raids has been sent for analysis, the spokesman added.
Meanwhile, the state BJP spokesman, Brigadier Anil Gupta (Retired), on Wednesday welcomed the IT raids and said that the bank has been exposed of illegally helping the wealthy and influential people at the expense of common citizens.
In a statement, Gupta said that nepotism, favouritism and political interference which were the hallmarks of the Bank have ruined not only the institution but hopes and careers of many deserving and needy youth of Jammu and Ladakh regions.