The Anti-Corruption Bureau has arrested the deputy mayor of Srinagar, Imran Sheikh, in connection with JK Bank loan fraud case. The Deputy Mayor of Srinagar is accused of massive corruption and to have taken a loan of Rs 138 crores for illegal appropriation of subsidy given to his company for setting up of a Controlled Atmosphere (CA) store at Lassipora, Pulwama.
Sheikh was earlier deposed from the position of deputy mayor after a no-confidence motion was passed against him by corporators of the Srinagar Municipal Corporation.
The ACB registered a case against Imran, the Director of Srinagar-based Kehwa Square, some officers of Jammu and Kashmir Bank and other government officials for alleged illegal appropriation of the subsidy with an inflated project cost for establishment of CA storage at Lassipora in Pulwama.
In the inspection carried out by a joint team of various authorities and government officials, the cost of the project was assessed to be around Rs 33 crore, the ACB spokesman said. Out of the 33 crores, the subsidy component amounted to 50 per cent of the project cost(EPC)- Rs 16.50 crore, as per norms of the Horticulture Mission for North East and Himalayan (HMNEH).
It was also unearthed during the investigation that the Kehwa Group has six more business units and Sheikh Imran had raised separate loan facilities and overdrafts for these units.
“The arrears on account of loan accumulated to Rs 138 crore. Imran sought a one-time settlement with the JK Bank authorities as one of the companies, Kehwa Square had turned into a non-performing asset. Sheikh hatched a conspiracy with Kehwa Group partners and JK Bank officials to settle the loan of Rs 138 crores for a mere Rs 78 crores,” the agency said.
According to the ACB investigation, large amounts of the loan was directed which was meant for construction of the CA store. The ACB is currently investigating the case to unravel more details about bank fraud.
It is noteworthy to mention that Sheikh had earlier boasted about his ties to ISI top brass and his close links with Hizbul commander Riyaz Naikoo. In a shocking revelation, Imran had also claimed that he can have Sajjad Lone and Srinagar mayor Junaid Azim Mattoo assassinated.
Interestingly, Sheikh Mohammad Imran has urged Kashmiris to prefix their names with ‘mujahid’ and send a message that the term is in no way related to terrorism and defeat in the elections those who have been inciting Communal passions.