Bank loan fraud: ED attaches Rs 122 cr assets of Pune businessmen, others

Assets worth more than Rs 122 crore of various accused, have been attached as part of money laundering investigation linked to an alleged bank loan fraud, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) said

Press Trust of India New Delhi
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Assets worth more than Rs 122 crore of various accused, including that of a former chairman of Pune-based Seva Vikas co-operative Bank and promoter of an education group, have been attached as part of money laundering investigation linked to an alleged bank loan fraud, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) said Friday.

A provisional order for attaching 47 immovable properties worth Rs 121.81 crore located in Pune in Maharashtra and movable assets of Rs 54.25 lakh (belonging to Devi Concrete Products) has been issued under the criminal sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

The properties belong to Amar Mulchandani, former chairman of Seva Vikas co-operative Bank, Vivek Aranha, promoter of Pune-based Rosary Education group, Sagar Suryawanshi, Khemchand Bhojwani and their family members and linked entities.

The case stems from a Pune Police FIR against the Rosary Education group, its promoters and others with regard to an alleged loan fraud, the ED said in a statement.

"Subsequently, joint registrar (audit) did an audit of the entire Seva Vikas co-op bank and found gross fraud and misappropriation of Rs 429.6 crore across 124 NPA (non performing assets) loan accounts.

"Based on this audit report, additional FIRs were registered against the loan beneficiaries and bank management including its ex-chairman Amar Mulchandani," it said.

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The RBI had cancelled the license of the bank and the ED is probing the "entire bank fraud in which small deposits of thousands of innocent depositors have been siphoned off by illegal loans sanctioned by the management of the bank."

The agency alleged Amar Mulchandani treated public deposits in the bank like his "personal fiefdom" and he "violated" all prudent banking norms to illegally sanction loans to his favoured borrowers in arbitrary manner, without checking their creditworthiness and without adequate collateral securities. He did this, the ED said, after taking "bribes" at the rate of 20 per cent commission of the sanctioned loan amount.

"He made his family members as directors in the bank with a clear motive to have a brute majority in the board of directors to sanction loans as per his whims and fancies," the ED alleged.

Amar Mulchandani, it claimed, also sanctioned various "benami" loans to siphon off money.

"Major loan defaulters Vinay Aranha (family member of Vivek Aranha), Sagar Suryawanshi and Khemchand Bhojwani etc. were found to be hand in glove with Amar Mulchandani. They acted as mutual guarantors in their loan accounts which all turned into NPA," the money laundering investigation found.

It charged that loans were sanctioned to them "illegally" and with clear objectives from day one to default the loan.

"New loans were sanctioned to repay older loans. ED has traced several benami investments made by Amar Mulchandani and others," it said.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: May 19 2023 | 7:48 PM IST

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