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I-T Raids Facilitator of Ex-Norway PM-Hurriyat Talks

June 12, 2019 06:00 AM


I-T Raids Facilitator of Ex-Norway PM-Hurriyat Talks
CRACKDOWN ON J&K BANK Srinagar deputy mayor embroiled in loan case with bank via Kehwa Group
CBDT claims group irregular in filing I-T returns, dues to J&K Bank at ₹27.66 cr
Hakeem Irfan Rashid and Rahul Tripathi

Srinagar/New Delhi:

Stepping up its probe into the alleged corruption in Jammu and Kashmir Bank, the Income Tax department on Tuesday raided several business establishments of controversial businessman and deputy mayor of Srinagar Municipal Corporation, Sheikh Muhammad Imran.

Incidentally, Imran was instrumental in organising a meeting between former Norwegian prime minister Kjell Magne Bondevik and Hurriyat leaders last year on behalf of spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.

After the Bondevik-Hurriyat meeting last year, Imran told ET that there was much more to wait for on the diplomatic front this year vis-a-vis Kashmir.

The raids are seen as a continuum of the recent crackdown on J&K Bank by the state’s Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) and removal of its chairman Parvez Ahmed. Imran was embroiled in a loan case with the bank through his enterprise Kehwa Group.

In a statement, the I-T department said: “Searches were conducted at eight premises in Srinagar and one 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.”

The CBDT said: “None of the members of the group is regular in filing their income tax returns. As a onetime settlement, the group has got their loans of ₹170 crore with J&K Bank restructured for a sum of ₹77 crore, out of which, payment of only ₹50.34 crore to the J&K Bank has been made so far and balance of ₹27.66 crore is yet to be paid.”

Furthermore, evidence has been unearthed indicating evergreening of ₹50.34-crore bank loan by the J&K Bank by granting a loan of similar amount to an associate, who has confessed to his role in layering the entire transaction, according to an I-T investigation.

The probe agency also recovered documents related to sale of undisclosed property worth ₹22 crore, agreement to sell transport business for ₹9.10 crore and undisclosed profit of ₹15-20 crore on account of sale of cold storage plant at Lassipora, officials alleged.

Documents related to undisclosed immovable assests at Sonmarg estimated to be ₹2.68 crore, at Pahalgam for ₹3.55 crore, at Bengaluru valued at ₹1crore, along with details of one shop in partnership in Delhi purchased for ₹1.02 crore, had been seized, the I-T department claimed.

Imran didn’t take any calls but sent a text message that he was fully supportive of all investigations. “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,” said Imran

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