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IT raids Dy Mayor’s pvt businesses

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Srinagar, Jun 11: Within days of Anti-Corruption Bureau action against J&K Bank, the Income-Tax Department Tuesday initiated probe into the alleged irregularities and conducted searches at 10 premises on a business firm of a senior Srinagar Municipal Corporation functionary, officials said.

Tax sleuths raided eight premises in Jammu and Kashmir's summer capital Srinagar and one each in Delhi and Bengaluru of the Kehwah group, promoted by Sheikh Imran, the Deputy Mayor of the Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC).

In the Kashmir Valley, the searches are being conducted in the Bohri Kadal area of downtown Srinagar and seven other nearby locations, they said.

The action is linked to the recently unearthed alleged irregularities in the bank's affairs and the raids conducted by the state Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), they said.

They alleged that the Kehwah group, with Imran as its chairman, is facing default proceedings after 23 of its accounts with the J&K Bank were declared non-performing assets for dues of over about Rs 120 crore.

The IT Department suspects wrongdoings and alleged financial irregularities and hence raids are being conducted to obtain further leads, evidence and documents, the officials said.

Meanwhile, confirming the raids, the Income Tax Department in a press release informed that its sleuths  conducted search and seizure operations on a prominent business group engaged in the business of transportation, manufacturing of silk yarn, hospitality, retail trading of Kashmir arts and crafts, etc.

“None of the members of the group is regular in filing their Income Tax returns,” the IT Department said.

It said 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.

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 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,” IT Department press release said.

It said during the search, incriminating evidence has also been found “relating to sale of undisclosed property amounting to Rs 22 crore, agreement to sell transport business for Rs 9.10 crore, undisclosed profit of Rs 15-20 crore on account of sale of Cold Storage plant at Lassipora.”

The cost of this project, it said 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. The loan for this project was taken from J&K Bank.”

Evidence was also found about “undisclosed properties at Sonmarg (Rs 2.68 crore), Pahalgam (Rs.3.55 crore) and Bangalore (Rs.1.00 crore), and one shop in partnership in Delhi purchased for Rs 1.02 crore.”

During the search, digital evidence found has been seized, analysis of which is in progress, the press release informed.

Pertinently, today’s action comes in the backdrop J&K Bank's Chairman Parvez Ahmed being removed after charges of alleged involvement in corruption, nepotism and favouritism were reported against him.

Referring to the ACB proceedings against Ahmed, a government official, earlier this week on the condition of anonymity, said that investigation into alleged backdoor appointments, "irregularities, loot and plunder" is intended to cleanse the system at the bank.

The State government holds 59 percent stake in the J&K Bank.

After his removal, Ahmed in a Twitter post said he has absolutely no regret over his work and that he did his job "most diligently, honestly and in the best interest of the institution".

Loans worth hundreds of crores were allegedly allotted without formalities in "brazen violation" of Standard Operating Procedures or guidelines to select recommendees of two politicians, the official had said.

Will support investigations to ensure transparency, says Dy Mayor

Srinagar, Jun 11: In the wake of Income Tax Department’s raids on his private businesses, SMC’s Deputy Mayor Shiekh Mohammad Imran on Tuesday said that he will extend full support to all the investigations to ensure transparency.

He said he is fully supportive of all investigations to ensure transparency and adherence to Income Tax laws.

“I extend my full cooperation to the Income Tax department. I am a law-abiding businessman and will continue to ensure the laws are upheld," he said.

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