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Srinagar’s Dy Mayor withdraws anticipatory bail application

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Srinagar June 20: The deputy mayor of Srinagar, Sheikh Imran today withdrew his application for anticipatory bail in the court in an alleged case of stealing huge amount of public money in collusion with the officials of the J&K Bank.

The High Court where Imran had filed a petition for anticipatory bail allowed the prayer of Imran through his counsel to withdraw the plea.

The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) last week registered a case against Imran and some officials of the Jammu and Kashmir Bank for alleged illegal appropriation of crores of rupees from the state exchequer.

According to ACB, it has been revealed that Imran, director of his Kehwa Group of Companies, had submitted a proposal to the J&K Bank for establishment of controlled atmosphere (CA) storage under the name of Kehwa Square Pvt. Ltd. in Pulwama district.

The Bureau claimed that a joint inspection team of various experts and government officials conducted an inspection of the site and assessed the cost of the project at Rs 33.00 crore. The subsidy component was calculated at Rs 16.50 crore , 50 per cent of the estimated project cost, as per norms of Horticulture Mission for North East & Himalayan states.

The proposal was approved by the empowered monitoring committee of Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH). After its approval, the state government also constituted a committee which recommended release of subsidy component without altering or amending the section wise value of machinery and civil works, it added.

During inquiry the ACB said it came to light that the Kehwa Group has six more business units and Imran had raised varied loan facilities and overdrafts for these units. "The liabilities on account of loan accumulated to Rs 138 crore. Since, one of the company, Kehwa Square had turned non-performing asset, Imran sought one-time settlement with J&K Bank authorities," it said.

“To usurp the subsidy component under the garb of promoting horticulture activity/storage facility with the connivance of Horticulture Department and bank officials, Imran and his partners wanted the CA storage to be declared as a non-performing asset without paying even a single installment to the bank”, the ACB said.

The cost of the project assessed during the inquiry by ACB was found much lower than the projected cost.  ACB said the plan was executed with the support of officials of the J&K Bank. One Nadeem Ahmad Mayar, proprietor of Go Fresh, availed a loan of Rs 36.10 crore and took over operations of the CA storage business unit of Imran without formal transfer of assets/liabilities in his name.

"Ironically, the bank authorities extended the loan facility to the proposed buyer on the same property which was already under hypothecation with the bank as asset of the principal borrower i.e Kehwa Square Pvt. Ltd," says the ACB. The Kehwa Group, with the support of government agencies and bank authorities, illegally benefitted with appropriation of subsidy amount of Rs 16.50 crore and layering of various transactions, it added.

According to the ACB, the Kehwa Group took a loan of Rs 138 crore from the J&K Bank and got it restructured to Rs 78 crore with the help of bank officials.

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