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Today: Jun 22, 2024

CBI books Hilal Rather in Rs 177-crore ‘bank fraud case’

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New Delhi:  The CBI has taken over probe against Hilal Rather, the son of National Conference leader and former Jammu and Kashmir finance minister Abdul Rahim Rather, in a Rs 177-crore bank fraud case, officials said on Thursday.

The agency has booked Hilal, being a partner of the beneficiary firm, and unidentified officials of J-K Bank in the case, they said.

The case which was probed by the anti-corruption branch of Jammu and Kashmir Police was handed over to the CBI because of “international ramifications” of the conspiracy of loan funds diversion.

“The possibility of stashing of funds and diversion of funds to subversive elements cannot be ruled out,” the ACB said in one of the reasons for handing over the probe to the central agency.

It is alleged that Hilal Rather, presently in custody, had taken a loan from J and K Bank for his ambitious township project, known as Paradise Avenue, at Narwal Bala in Jammu in  2012, when his father was the Finance Minister of the erstwhile state, they said.

It is alleged that the loan was sanctioned without submitting any collateral and the money was diverted from the bank account, they said.

The account had turned non-performing asset in 2017, they said.

The ACB had concluded in its report, now part of the FIR, that funds worth over Rs 26 crore were diverted from the account for the purchase of expensive gift items, holidays abroad and hosting shows of TV and film celebrities, they said.

A portion of loan amount was used to pay fuel bills and salary of employees of Simula Software Solutions, besides taking the Simula Cricket team, a sister concern of Paradise Avenue owned by Rather, to Dubai and Sharjah for playing T 20 tournament and sponsoring the show of a famous TV stand-up comedian, it said.

The ACB had found that money was allegedly transferred to a Dubai bank account and purchase of at least three properties and investments in Al Ahli Saudi Trading Equity Fund and Mashreq Al Islamic Income ‘B’ USD, they said.

The funds diverted to the USA were allegedly used to purchase property worth USD 5.89 lakh there, it said.

In spite of non-payment of the first loan, three more term loans were granted by the bank taking in total loan amount to Rs 177.68 crore which remained unpaid, they said.

The bank management abused its official position in a one-time settlement waiving Rs 50 crore from the outstanding due, they said.

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