Rashid Paul

HC grants bail to Ex-chairman J&K Cooperative Bank in Rs 300 cr land scam case

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Srinagar: Former chairman of Jammu and Kashmir State Cooperative Bank, Mohmmad Shafi Dar, arrested by the Anti Corruption Bureau in Srinagar in connection with his alleged involvement in the Rs 223 crore land scam was granted bail by the High Court on Wednesday.

Justice Sindhu Sharma admitted the ex-bank chairman to bail subject to furnishing personal bond and surety bond to the tune of Rs 50,000.

The conditions laid down for his release on  bail says that he shall cooperate with the investigation as and when required and not hamper or tamper with the prosecution witnesses.

It also laid down the provision that the accused will appear before the Trial Court on each and every date of hearing unless exempted.

It further ordered the accused not to leave the territorial jurisdiction of appellate court without prior permission.

The genesis of the alleged involvement of the applicant in the commission of crime state that one Hilal Ahmed, claiming to be the chairman of River Jhelum Cooperative Building Society, approached J&K Cooperative Bank Limited Srinagar for grant of assistance of Rs 300  crores.

The builder wanted to take possession of land measuring 300 Kanals in the outskirts of Srinagar for construction of a satellite township.

The Secretary of the Government Cooperative department is said to have endorsed the application to the then Registrar of Cooperative Societies, J&K on March 26, 2018, who recommended it to the Managing Director, Jammu & Kashmir State Cooperative Bank Ltd.

On September 08, 2019 on receipt of the application, Governing Council of the bank approved grant of loan of Rs 250 crores in favor of the River Jhelum Cooperative Building Society.

Thereafter, the sanction of loan was ratified by the Board of Directors of the J&K Cooperative Society Bank on March 21, 2019. After the Board had ratified the decision of the applicant, chairman disbursed the loan of Rs 223 crores on April 25, 2019.

The Anti-Corruption Bureau, Srinagar after receiving the information about the “fraudulent” transaction of sanctioned loan started inquiry and arrested the former chairman in June 2020.

The arrested chairman then filed an application for grant of bail which the Trial Court rejected on 3rd of July.

A fresh joint application was filed along with Hilal Ahmed Mir, which was also dismissed by the Trial Court on 18th of July.

It was after the dismissal of the two applications that petitioner Dar filed this application for grant of bail which was allowed by Justice Sandhu.

During the pendency of this application, another bail application was filed by him on the plea that he was suffering from Covid-19. The application was dismissed on 18th of September on the ground that it was founded on false statement.

The court relied today’s bail verdict on a Supreme Court case titled State of Rajasthan vs Balchand.

The apex court has stressed bail, not jail in the case, except where there are circumstances suggestive of accused fleeing from justice or thwarting the course of justice.

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