Ex-SMC Deputy Mayor Arrested

Sheikh Imran – File Pic

SRINAGAR –¬†Former deputy mayor of Srinagar Municipal Corporation Sheikh Imran was on Friday arrested by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) in a case pertaining to alleged misappropriation of crores of rupees from the Jammu and Kashmir Bank, officials said.

Imran, who was removed as deputy mayor of the Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) after a no-confidence motion against him was carried in the corporation on Thursday, was taken into custody by the ACB for questioning in connection with illegal appropriation of subsidy given to his company for setting up of a Controlled Atmosphere (CA) store, they said.

“The ACB investigation has revealed that a large amount of loan was diverted which was meant for construction of a CA store. The case is under investigation with the ACB to unearth further details of the bank fraud. Sheikh Imran has been taken into custody for further questioning,” a spokesman of the ACB said.

Giving details of the case, the spokesman said an FIR was registered by the ACB against Imran, director of Kehwa Square Pvt Ltd, officers of the JK Bank and other government officials for alleged misappropriation of subsidy with inflated project cost for establishment of a CA storage at Lassipora, Pulwama, in south Kashmir.

“Further, the Kehwa Group got a loan of Rs 138 crore with the JK Bank, restructured for merely an amount of Rs 78 crore under a well knit conspiracy by Sheikh Imran and partners of the Kehwa Square Pvt Ltd along with the JK Bank officials,” he said, adding further investigation into the case is going on.

A joint inspection team of various experts and government officials conducted an inspection of the site and assessed the cost of the project to Rs 33 crore, the ACB spokesman said.

The subsidy component was calculated at Rs 16.50 crore — 50 per cent of the estimated project cost (EPC) — purportedly as per norms of the Horticulture Mission for North East and Himalayan (HMNEH) states, he said.

The proposal was approved by the empowered monitoring committee of the Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH), the spokesman said.

During inquiry, it also came to light that the Kehwa Group has six more business units and Imran raised varied loan facilities and overdrafts for these units, the ACB alleged.

“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 the JK Bank authorities,” the spokesman said.

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