Rs 250-Cr Bank Fraud: KAS Officer Among 2 Suspended

J&K Cooperative Bank

Srinagar- The Jammu and Kashmir administration on Saturday suspended two senior officials pending an inquiry into their conduct in a case pertaining to Rs 250-crore bank fraud, officials said.

The administration suspended Kashmir Administrative Service (KAS) officer Mujib-ur-Rehman Ghassi, Special Secretary to the Government, Industries and Commerce Department, and Ashiq Hussian, Deputy Registrar Cooperative Societies J-K, pending an inquiry against them, they said.

The officials said two separate suspension orders were issued on September 26 against the officials by the General Administration Department (GAD).

The officials said Ghassi will remain attached with the GAD during the period of his suspension, while Hussain shall remain attached in the office of the Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir.

The names of both the officials were mentioned in a case, registered by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) on August 25, related to Rs 250 crore loan to a non-existent cooperative housing society two years ago.

The ACB produced a charge-sheet against three persons, including a former chairman of Jammu and Kashmir Cooperative Bank, for sanctioning a Rs 250 crore loan to a non-existent cooperative housing society.

The ACB filed the charge-sheet against Mohammad Shafi Dar, the then chairman of J-K State Cooperative Bank Limited (JKSTCB), Hilal Ahmad Mir, chairman of non-existent River Jhelum Cooperative House Building Society, Srinagar, and Abdul Hamid Hajam, secretary of the non-existent River Jhelum Cooperative House Building Society, Srinagar, according to officials.

The anti-graft body registered the case against Dar and others under various sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act for allegedly sanctioning a loan to the tune of Rs 250 crore in favour of the non-existent society for the purpose of construction of a satellite township at Shivpora locality in Srinagar, bypassing the credit policy of the bank and on the basis of false and fabricated documents, they said.

The ACB investigation revealed that a conspiracy was hatched between Dar, Mir, Hajam, Mujib Ur Rehman Ghasi — the then registrar of cooperative societies, J-K, Syed Ashiq Hussain — deputy registrar cooperative societies, and others in creating the fake society in 2018-19 in order to obtain a loan from the bank, officials said.

Ex-DC Booked For Approving ‘Illegal’ Stone Crusher

Meanwhile the Crime Branch on Saturday filed a case against former Deputy Commissioner Kupwara and several officials and others for allowing illegal construction of a stone crusher and hot mix plant in the frontier district.

According to a Crime Branch spokesperson, a case FIR No (35/2020 u/s 447,468,120B RPC and Section 5(2) Prevention of Corruption Act Svt. 2006) was filed after conducting a preliminary verification into a written complaint lodged by inhabitants of Gutlipora, Hyhama tin the border district.

The complainants had alleged that in brazen violation of rules, the authorities had issued NOC to a crusher/hot mix plant in 2017 to one M/S National Infra Construction Company Gutlipora Kupwara, a Crime Branch spokesperson said. The complainants further alleged that the revenue records of the land on which the plant was established had been manipulated by the then revenue authorities.

“After conducting a preliminary verification including spot inspection etc. into the matter prima facie found that the allegations are substantiated,” the Crime Branch spokesperson said.

During the probe, he said it was revealed that the M/S National Infra Construction Company Gutlipora, Hyhama, a partnership firm, had sought registration with the DIC Kupwara for establishing Stone Crusher/Hot Mix Plant.

“The registration of the plant was to be governed by the Government Order (No. 104/Ind of 2015 dated 14.07.2015), where under the Plant Holder was required to seek the NOCs from the Deputy Commissioner, Kupwara regarding ownership of land, etc, State Pollution Control Board (SPCB) regarding Pollution Control, Geology and Mining regarding location, feasibility and availability of raw material, Forest Department, I&FC and Fisheries Department. The then Office of the Deputy Commissioner, Kupwara had “illegally” issued NOC in favour of the Plant on 27 March 2017 in violation of the standing laws and rules regulating the establishment of such plants,” the spokesperson said.

The Plant, he said was registered in the name of partnership firm, which was not having the required title over the land.

“During the verification, it also surfaced that the land on which the alleged illegal plant was set up was Abi-Awal, but the District revenue officers/officials manipulated the nature and the character of the land by showing same as Gair Mumkin Shart in violation of section 133A Land Revenue Act Svt. 1996 read with the Government Policy regarding change of land use issued vide Govt. Order No. 138-Rev (S) of 2016 dated 07.10.2016 to extend undue favor to the beneficiaries,” the spokesperson said.

He added that the verification also revealed that General Manager, DIC, Kupwara provided registration to the Plant without the required NOCs from Fisheries and Forest Department.

“The Officers/Officials of SPCB, Geology & Mining, Forest, I&FC were also found to have illegally issued NOCs in violation of Government orders, rules and regulations framed thereunder for the purpose,” he said.

“The then Deputy Commissioner Kupwara, also failed to take any further action against the illegal operation of the plant as was mandated under Government Order No. 104/Ind of 2015 dated 14.07.2015, when the complainants and residents brought the issue to his notice,” he added.

The Crime Branch spokesperson said that following the verification, the FIR has been registered against the then Deputy Commissioner, Kupwara; then Additional Deputy Commissioner Kupwara; District revenue Officers/Officials; then General Manager District Industries Centre (DIC) Kupwara; then Officers/Officials of State Pollution Control Board (SPCB); then District Officers/Officials of Geology and Mining Department, then Officers/Officials of Forest Department; then Agriculture Officer, Kupwara and beneficiaries including Haji Mohabbat Ali Khan son of Rehmatullah Khan resident Shortpora Hyhama, Kupwara and others for setting up a Stone Crusher/Hot Mix Plant illegally at Gutlipora, Hyhama Kupwara.


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