Investigation under PMLA reveals that Arjun Khotkar was on the Board of Directors of Maharashtra State Co-op Bank Ltd
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Friday attached assets worth Rs.78.38 crore of Jalna Sahakari Sakhar Karkhana Ltd under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) in the Maharashtra State Co-operative Bank (MSCB) case, an official said.
The ED had initiated an investigation under the PMLA based upon an FIR registered by the Economic Offence Wing, Mumbai Police. The said FIR was registered in pursuance of a Bombay High Court order.
“The ED has provisionally attached residual plant and machinery at the site, building structures and more than 200 acres of land of Jalna Sahakari Sakhar Karkhana Ltd. at village Sawargaon Hadap, Taluka and District Jalna, Maharashtra,” the official said, adding the assets are currently held in the name of Arjun Sugar Industries Pvt. Ltd.
It has been alleged in the said FIR that the cooperative SSKs were fraudulently sold by the then officials & Directors of MSCB at throw-away prices to their relatives or private persons without following the due procedure prescribed under the SARFAESI Act.
Jalna SSK Limited was established in 1984-85 on around 235 acres of land including 100 acres of land received without any monetary consideration from the Maharashtra government.
“The Jalna SSK failed to repay the loan availed from MSCB and was declared as NPA in March 2002. There was a loan outstanding of Rs 33.49 crore of MSCB on Jalna SSK as of September 2008. To recover its dues, MSCB took possession of the SSK in February 2009 under SARFAESI Act,” the official said.
Thereafter, MSCB conducted an auction of Jalna SSK in February 2012 with a reserve price of Rs.42.18 crore. Only two parties — Tapadia Constructions Pvt. Ltd., Aurangabad, and Ajeet Seeds Pvt. Ltd, Aurangabad — participated in the said auction.
Tapadia Constructions was the highest bidder. ED’s investigation revealed that the buyers of bid documents and final participants in the auction were linked to each other and Tapadia Constructions and Ajeet Seeds were operating from the same building in Jalna.
After receipt of the final installment of the sale amount by MSCB, a sale certificate was issued to Tapadia Construction in December 2012.
However, Tapadia Constructions did not operate the SSK and after a lapse of 15 months, the SSK along with 235 acres of land located in Jalna was said to be sold to Arjun Sugar Industries Pvt. Ltd. Arjun Sugar Industries Pvt. Ltd. is a Company incorporated by Arjunrao Panditrao Khotkar and others only with a view to purchasing the Jalna SSK Ltd. on 08.05.2012.
Investigation under PMLA also revealed that Arjun Khotkar was on the Board of Directors of Maharashtra State Co-op Bank Ltd. during the period from 1998-2004.
The ED probe also revealed that Jalna SSK was sold for an amount of Rs.42.31 crore by suppressing the value, whereas the valuation of the assets conducted by an independent valuer appointed by ED revealed that the value of Jalna SSK was around Rs.78 crore at the material time.
[With Inputs from IANS]
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